Jetting to Ensham's rescue

ONE of the world’s largest aeroplanes flew into Brisbane this week, delivering a vital component needed to get the flooded Ensham coal mine back in operation by mid-2009.

Vivienne Ryan

The Russian Antonov 124, formerly a military jet but now a large cargo aircraft, delivered a $A4.5 million motor generator needed to repair Ensham’s waterlogged dragline.

Ensham’s mine near Emerald was one of the hardest hit coal mines when heavy rains caused flash flooding in central and northern Queensland in January this year.

The dragline spent more than three months trapped in 15 metres of floodwater before being walked out of the mine for repairs in May.

Ensham had two giant aircraft deliveries last month for its 3000-tonne Bucyrus 8050 dragline.

The motor generator (MG) set is one of two which power the machine’s moving functions through electric drive motors controlling hoist, drag, swing and propel functions.

Ensham chief financial officer John Seedhouse said production of the MG set would normally take 52 weeks, but was completed in 28 weeks to help the mine’s recovery operation.

“The repairs of the machine are all on schedule and we hope to have the machine working in the mine again by December,” Seedhouse said.

Ensham hopes to have its two flooded mine pits back in operation in the first half of 2009.