A Pilbara Snapshot : One

16 07 2012

In case you hadn’t heard, Australia, or more specifically North Western Australia, is in the midst of a resources boom.

What does this mean? Simply put, huge swathes of our red desert dirt are being sent to China to be turned into steel so that they can take over the world. Probably.

Closer to home, it also means every second person in WA is earning six figures, pushing prices and rents through the roof, particularly in those towns  lucky enough to be near a mine.

Port Headland is one of those towns. Flat and dusty, there’s not much to recommend it except as a hub to visit some of the incredible country further inland.

And that seems to be how the big mining companies view it too. Not as a bustling coastal community to house their legions of workers, but just as a necessary train stop on the way to more mining dollars.

The town, which comprises Port and South Hedland is simply functional. There are few restaurants or cafes because no one can match the mining salaries.

Ore trains rumble non-stop through town and a salt factory dominates the main road. Every second vehicle is a yellow-striped mine truck and a high-visibility uniforms dominate. It’s like you’re inside some sort of remote industrial plant yourself.

The thing which really struck me was how it seemed no one was looking ahead. There’s been no community investment in the town by the Big Miners who earn so much from it. When the minerals are gone, they’ll pull out and Hedland will have no reason to exist.

It’s just a shame they couldn’t spend a few more bucks to give their workers something nicer to come home to.

Just out of town near an abandoned mining settlement.

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