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Mine site in the Pilbara hits 50 degrees

Lucie Bell and Ebonnie Spriggs, Friday January 10, 2014 - 13:48 EDT
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A board at Mesa A mine site in the Pilbara recorded 50 degrees yesterday afternoon. - ABC

Parts of northern Western Australia are continuing to sizzle, as summer well and truly sets in.

The Pilbara town of Onslow has officially been the hottest location in the state for the past two days, after the mercury peaked above 48 degrees.

Although not an official bureau location, a welcome board at Rio Tinto's Mesa A mine site, west of Pannawonica, registered 50 degrees at 1:37pm yesterday afternoon.

Mine operations manager Wayne Zarb says it was pretty warm.

"It's baking, we feel that board is probably not calibrated that well though," he said.

"But at the end of the day look it's the Pilbara, it's summer, 45 degrees is the norm.

"It might be plus a couple, it might be minus a couple, it's hard to pick the difference."

Mr Zarb says duties continued as normal on site but workers are encouraged to take good care of themselves, given conditions.

"We really push the point with our workforce that if it's too much for you, you make sure you let us know.

"Take a break, drink your water, we've got plenty of electrolytes on stock for the guys. It's important they look after their health."

The Weather Bureau's Neil Bennett says while the reading at Mesa A is not officially recognised, he wouldn't be surprised if the temperature nudged 50.

"It's highly likely that we would see temperatures getting into that area. It is very, very hot air up there," he said.

"But the Bureau recordings are done at sites that we scope out and we make sure that they adhere to world meteorological standards, not just Australian standards.

"Nevertheless, that is an indication of just how hot it is... and really the difference between 48.7 and 49 and 49.3 and 49.5 is neither here nor there, it's just damn hot isn't it!"

Temperatures in the high 40s may be the norm for a Pilbara summer but Mr Zarb says it still feels good to take your boots off at the end of the day.

"Certainly the guys in the workshops and out in the pits, I think they look forward to getting the boots off, a cold beer and a shower to clean up."


- ABC

© ABC 2014

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