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Things that go BOOM!

Posted by Alex Mickle

Why is it that people will sit for hours waiting for fireworks to begin? Stand and watch in awe as a wrecking ball smashes its way through a wall? Hold their breath while waiting for a tree to fall? Or stay glued to the screen as a volcano erupts?

Things that go BOOM!

Is it the awesome display of power that impresses us? Does it actually make us feel empowered? Do these destructive events somehow hold a creative possibility, that once the smoke has cleared there is some small chance that something has been born anew? That in the seconds following these events, we look for the inevitable transformation that has occurred, a chaotic and random reshaping in the blink of an eye?

Many employees from Rio Tinto's Paraburdoo mine site and I have just spent nearly six months enabling a scenario that will allow us to use controlled blasts in an act of (hopefully) creation. One of the reasons I was so interested in this project is because it is the one process unavailable to me under ordinary circumstances. Added challenges also appeared because it's hard to seek the necessary approvals and hard to control the final results.

Faced with a task that could be easy or difficult, I'm always happy to opt for the most painful and difficult. I've thought about this many times and I think it has something to do with the end reward – that by choosing the hard path and pushing through to a conclusion, the fulfillment and sense of achievement once the work is complete is amplified.

I think I'm working with the right group of guys, because facing challenges and finding a solution is the backbone of work up here. And I'm looking forward to producing a legacy for the town of Paraburdoo that emerges out of curiosity and fascination and is a mark of the hard work and problem solving that is characteristic of mining and the men who make it all happen.


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