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Director's Blog - The reverberations of deep time
Pyramid Hill, Gurrgara - and nearby Yindjibarndi and Ngarluma lands. Photo: Neil Brougham
Monday 28 September 2020
One day in May, the earth shuddered. It was the year we call 2020, in the Pilbara, a remote part of Western Australia (WA), now rendered even more remote by the locked-down borders of this Pandemic year. The caves of Juukan Gorge, these special dwelling places, have stood in situ for millennia. In a matter of seconds, they crashed in on themselves and became rubble.
The massive explosion was a means of making it easier for the giant machines of the mining company Rio Tinto to extract ore to and send off to other continents. In 2013, the company estimated that it used 200,000 tonnes of explosives each year in The Pilbara region alone. Vibration controls were supposed to prevent any nearby ‘sensitive sites’ that might be affected by blasts. This sensitive site was nonetheless targeted.