Assembling giant trays for mine a ‘morale booster’

A 24-tonne dump truck tray is transported to Macraes Mine yesterday afternoon. PHOTO: GREGOR...
A 24-tonne dump truck tray is transported to Macraes Mine yesterday afternoon. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
They are big.

They are heavy.

And Shane Unahi is "incredibly proud" to be playing a part in building them.

Yesterday, the first of more than 20 new dump truck trays left Waikouaiti Auto and Engineering’s (WAE) Palmerston workshop for OceanaGold’s Macraes Mine.

Mr Unahi, the firm’s branch manager in Palmerston, said it was a massive project to be undertaking.

It was assembling about 21 new 24-tonne trays that would be used on dump trucks at the mine designed to carry about 200 tonnes of material.

Taking about four or five weeks to complete, the trays arrived in a kitset from the Australian manufacturer and were put together by WAE.

The first one had taken longer as it was "a bit of trial and error". Mr Unahi hoped they would eventually be able to assemble one tray every three weeks.

About six or seven staff worked on the trays at one time, he said.

He estimated the project would be completed by the end of the year.

Yesterday morning, the first tray, which was painted blue in support of prostate cancer awareness, was loaded on to a truck and transported to the mine, escorted by two pilot vehicles because of its width and weight.

The loading process began about 7.30am and the tray left the workshop about 11am. It arrived at the mine about 12.30pm, Mr Unahi said.

The plan was to install the tray on one of the mine’s trucks last night and it could be in use by this morning.

It was an "honour" to be undertaking the project, he said.

"It’s a real morale booster for everyone especially seeing that one go out the door," he said.

About 15 staff were employed at the Palmerston workshop and the majority of its work was doing maintenance for the mine.

It was great that OceanaGold used local services rather than out-of-town businesses, Mr Unahi said.