Sunday, July 15, 2012

Changing gear

'It never rains but it pours.' 'Like WW1 but with more mud'. 'You weren't there man, you don't know.' All these phrases were muttered last week. I was sent to relieve for another geologist at Newlands Coal  Mine. Because they were short-staffed I was asked to stay on a couple of extra days. That may have turned out to be a good thing, as I got to work with a mine senior geo from head office and learnt a few new tricks. But it rained, and that was a game-changer. Drilling operations in the middle of nowhere stop work when it rains, as they can't move trucks and there's a likelihood that even 4WDs will get stuck. Not at mine sites though - the philosophy is that there is no piece of stuck equipment that can't be moved with a big enough dozer. So out into the mud we went. It wasn't cold but it was still a wet, slippery, sticky day.
A small part of Newlands on a fine day. For scale, those roads are about 15m wide. The whole complex is about 30km end to end, Anywhere else, it's be considered three separate mines. And those 5-trailer trucks are BIG.

 Our drill site. Did I mention the mud?

The same rain and low cloud then meant that flights couldn't land at Mackay airport for the next two days. Some airports have radar beacons, but not Mackay. At one point we heard a plane try to land, but he chickened out. Still, I got to spend time in the departure lounge drinking coffee and chatting. By the end we'd made some new friends ;-) The poor people getting thrown around above us had it much harder.

When I finally made it home my latest Triumph part had arrived - a W58 gearbox bought off eBay. I have a kit to fit it to a TR6 motor, which is the same as a GT6's except for a different back plate. The kit includes a custom bellhousing, clutch components and gear lever adapter. I still need to find a W58 gear lever though, as my box came without one. The box will get stripped and checked before going in the car.


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