On this day 50 years ago, construction on the world’s largest open cut iron ore mine started at Mount Whaleback.
In the decades since, it has undergone significant development, and today the 5.5km long pit holds a special place in the hearts and minds of employees past and present, community members and visitors alike.
When Whaleback was developed 50 years ago, the objective was to export five million tonnes of iron ore a year; a figure that was exceeded in its first year by exporting six million tonnes.With a continued focus on safety before productivity the mine has gone from strength to strength; from setting a monthly railing record of 3,625,500 tonnes hauled by 279 trains in 1977, to producing 43.1 million tonnes in 2016 alone.
Whaleback has been the backbone of the Pilbara’s iron ore industry for five decades and is the oldest iron ore mine still operating. Its growth and success would not have been possible without the continued efforts and support of our employees, communities, partners and customers.
Over the coming weeks and months we will continue to celebrate all of the things that make the town of Newman and our mine great, through a series of videos featuring just some of the individuals who have contributed to the rich tapestry of the mine and surrounding town.
You are invited to share in the celebrations of Whalebacks history, by watching the first video in this series, featuring General Manager Whaleback, Pat Bourke.