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29 April 2010

A 15-tonne bucket from a backhoe rock shovel excavator, used at a major iron ore mine in Western Australia, was unloaded yesterday at the National Museum of Australia's Repository in Canberra.

The bucket was used at Rio Tinto Limited's Mt Tom Price iron ore mine in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It was used to load iron ore into dump trucks, which then transported the ore to a crushing plant.

The now obsolete bucket and a drill head were donated to the National Museum by Rio Tinto Limited. The bucket is made from solid steel, weighs over 15 tonnes and has a capacity of nearly 30,000 kg of iron ore, the equivalent of around 300 wheelbarrow loads.

'It is difficult for the National Museum to tell stories about Australia's modern mining industry because the technology is on such a scale that it is usually too hard for us to handle and fit into the Museum', said National Museum curator Daniel Oakman.

'Here we have a visually stunning object that really conveys the power and magnitude of modern day mining operations.'

The bucket will go on display in the National Museum's new Landmarks Gallery, scheduled to open in 2011.

Mark Juddery
National Museum of Australia
+61 (0)2 6208 5338
+61 (0)438 620 710

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