Arising early we hit the road at 7:00am and headed for the Clermont Mine again to pick up David.
He’s on a change over from day shift to night shift which means he could spend some time with us and he offered to show us the property that he frequently goes shooting on.
After picking him up he drove us around on a tour of the perimeter of the Clermont Mine giving a commentary just as good and with a depth of knowledge equal to the tour guide from Blair Athol a couple of days previous.
It was thoroughly fascinating to hear how the mine operates, (it is a different operation to the Blair Athol Mine), and how they are overcoming the many challenges of starting a new mine with all the unknown problems that must be worked out as they go.
We watched in fascination at the sheer size of the operation as the huge dump trucks unloaded their massive cargo of overburden onto an ever growing mountain of dirt that will one day be replaced back in the pit once the coal has all been removed.
David explained the workings of the giant conveyer, clearly visible from our vantage spot, that once perfected, will dump the overburden directly from the pit saving huge a quantity of diesel and time currently expended on dump trucks.
To the uninitiated in things relating to mining you would never think of challenges such as the effect of the weight of the mountains of overburden on the surrounding area, or how to construct roads up the overburden for the dump trucks to access.
Just trying to re engineer the huge conveyer is a major challenge. It constantly gets gummed up with muddy rock from the pit and stops running, a problem that was unforseen when it was commissioned and is a costly one to rectify.
Thousands of these problems surface when a new mine is built and many of them cannot be clearly understood until the operation is underway.
We felt proud of David’s knowledge and insight into this massive operation.
Leaving the mine area we headed out onto the dirt road toward the small town of Alpha and after about 30 minutes turned off onto the property.
Covering 70,000 acres this property is nothing short of a natural paradise.
The bush track led us deep into the property past beautiful natural bush areas and stunning dams and creek which even late in the dry season had abundant water.
The dams were alive with wildlife, thousands of ducks, geese, and other birds of every variety.
I could almost see the millions of unharvested Red claw in the clear but sheltered waters.
On and on we went and at every turn in the bush tracks we were met with some other fascinating scene.
We eventually came upon a high knoll where we could see just a small part of this magnificent sprawling property rolling to the hills in the distance.
David always does the right thing with this farmer and would never think of entering the property without getting permission which the farmer is always happy to give him.
The stories of David’s hunting trips to this place were fascinating and we can see why he feels privileged to be able to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the place as well as the excitement of hunting.
After 3hours or so of driving through the properties we headed back to Theresa Dam for a coffee with David.
We then took him back to the camp so he could get some sleep and we headed back to our home.