The Beast of Bengalla

The dragline is the largest piece of machinery at Bengalla.

It is a beast James Zammit is very familiar with.

"I've been at Bengalla for 22 years and operating the dragline for a bit over 20,扎米特先生说.

Operating such a massive piece of machinery requires more than one set of eyes, so he is always on shift with two other team members.

"T在这里's three people on the crew, one operating the dragline, 一个在推土机上, and the other bloke is free to do the cable work and the other running around - whatever needs to be done."

The dragline plays a vital role in Bengalla's operations.

"The main function of the dragline is to uncover the coal. We either take the over burden or the inner burden off the coal for the excavators to come through. 他们会decoal, then we come through after that and take the next lot of inner burden between the coal seams,扎米特先生说.

The size of the dragline means the team can make significant progress in a short amount of time.

"We uncover a full strip in under a year now, so we're moving pretty quick.

"I think we're uncovering strip 36 now. Each strip we're uncovering is 60 metres wide and a bit over 2.5公里长."

The dragline bucket holds approximately 140 tonnes of material, which is equivalent to the weight of a blue whale.

"We're moving anyw在这里 between that 35 to 45 thousand bank cubic metres every shift,扎米特先生说.

When you are at the helm of a machine this size, t在这里 is a lot to think about.

"Safety is the main thing we have to watch 在这里, because it's big machinery we're working with. You won't get a second chance if that bucket hits the dozer or something like that, so we're always mindful of that."

The weight of the dragline means crews also need to make sure it is planted on firm ground.


"The machine weighs a bit over 5,500 tonnes so it's a lot of weight sitting t在这里,扎米特先生说.

It is powered by electricity, connected to a nearby substation by multiple cables.

"It's 22 thousand volts coming into the machine and that gets converted into DC power for the machine to run off.

"T在这里's cables at the moment running right through the centre of the pit up over cable towers, so t在这里's a lot of preparation in setting all that up."

With safety being a high priority for the team, they have become a close-knit unit.

"We're a pretty tight crew, you get on well with the blokes you work with,扎米特先生说.

"Definitely the best job in the mine."

Have a look at the video 在这里