“The Mack is durable and hardworking enough to cope in the heavy environment.”
The Cardross Mining fleet mostly carries magnetite from Ravenshoe to Innisfail, but one truck has a very different type of load.
As any miner will tell you, blasting these days is bit more complex than shoving a few sticks of dynamite in a hole and pushing the plunger. Cardross Mining have a Mack Super-Liner set up as a B-double hauling two tanks of emulsion explosive to mine sites near Cloncurry and Gumlu in Queensland.
Explosive cocktail anyone?
The emulsion is a viscous liquid explosive that can be pumped down a drill hole at a mine site and detonated underground. Being a liquid, it’s far easier to get it exactly where you need it, but as you’d expect, getting it to the site requires some precautions.
“It’s a specialised load,” says Managing Director Anthony Genocchio, “the truck’s fitted with tags and tamper-proof locks on all the fill points and the driver has to take isolated routes and avoid populated areas if possible, he can’t just stop anywhere.”
A steep descent
“These trucks run a 260km round-trip from a mine 25km west of Ravenshoe to the Mourilyan port at Innisfail. Now Ravenshoe is the highest point in all of Queensland, and of course the port’s at sea level, so we needed trucks that had good brake horsepower as well as good fuel economy.”
Some practical reasons
“The Super-Liner met our requirement,” says Dennis, “with the bonus that its tare weight is about a tonne lighter than some equivalent European cab-over models. We were looking for a truck that would give us optimal payload, longevity and good braking safety systems. The Super-Liner was it.”
Winning hearts and minds
The Cardross Macks are all equipped with the mDRIVE automated manual transmission, which the drivers have taken to after some initial reluctance.
“We had some pushback,” says Dennis, “these drivers all got out of manuals and are used to having a gear stick to play with, but we got the Mack driver trainer Paul Munro up here and he showed them how to use it. Now they don’t want to go back.”