On Wednesday 15 June, the Packages of Learning class went to the Grange/Savage River Mines site at Port Latta.  This is what I learnt about the operations of the company.  

The company Grange is owned by a bigger Chinese company called Jiangsu Shangang. The mine is located at Savage River. Grange is trying to get an underground mine in one of the pits but at the moment, it is going through a feasibility study to make sure that it is worth doing the underground mine.  

The Magnetite, iron ore is mined in three different open cut mines, the northern being biggest, also at almost 1km deep. Once the magnetite is mined, the huge dump trucks drive 40 minutes to get out of the pit to the concentration plant which crushes and separates the Magnetite and Iron Ore into a fine powder. After this process the powder is mixed with water to make a water slurry. The water slurry is sent through a pipe to Port Latta that is 85km long and 22.5cm wide. The pipe is connected to a piston pump to take it up hill to the peak and the rest is gravity fed till it gets to Port Latta.  

At Port Latta, the Ore is separated from the water and the Bentonite is added to hold it all together. After it is pelletised, it is ready to be furnaced. The pellets are furnaced at the extreme heat of 1300°C and the pellets stay in the furnace for four hours and then loaded into a pile.  They can take at least two weeks to cool completely.  

Reclaimers put the pellets on a conveyor belt that goes 1.6km out to sea and can only be accessed by walking or ride-on lawn mowers. They can accommodate 50 ships each year and there has to be no wind or a north blowing wind.  The ships can hold eighty thousand tons of pellets. After the ships are loaded, they are transported to China where they are processed into steel. 

Personal Reflection: 

My personal take way for this experience is it’s an extremely good opportunity to have, and it was probably my favourite trip we have taken all year. I learnt a lot about mining operations and the opportunities to work there as an apprentice. 

I’m not meant to say this, but I also liked going to the Detention River store to buy lunch, that was surprisingly good. 

Quinten Sturzaker 

POL Student