Digging deep to help families who have lost FIFO loved ones

An abandoned mining digger has united a community after it was lovingly restored to provide funds and support for FIFO families that have lost loved ones to mining accidents.

The Mining Legends initiative began in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia in 2019 with the aim to raise funds and provide support for families of FIFO workers that had lost their lives in mining accidents.

And their first restoration has been a huge success, with a decommissioned CAT R2900G Underground Loader lovingly brought back to life, selling for $800,000 for Kalgoorlie charities.

The loader had seen over 18,000 operational hours and was in poor condition when it was donated to Mining Legends by gold producer Northern Star.

So Mining Legends turned to Worthy Parts, who volunteered their trade services to begin the restoration project while ATS Mining Maintenance provided the workspace. What happened next stunned the local community and the mining community across Australia.

Over 75 individuals and organisations donated parts, components and their own skill and time to bring the bogger to life over the next four months, with donations coming from all over Australia.

“We realised it wasn’t just going to be Kalgoorlie companies that were getting behind this thing and we’ve got guys from all around Australia (providing parts and support),” Michael Worthington of Worthy Parts said.

Mining Legends Project Manager Sean Wood said he was stunned with the reaction.

“We’ve got companies from Toowoomba and places like that, that have donated components and parts. This bogger exploded all over Australia,” he said.

Some of those donations included 140l of paint for the digger from International Paints and a new bucket from Bost Group valued at A$61,500.

Bost Group National Sales and Marketing Manager Darren Newman said it was a cause close to their hearts.

“Bost Group is committed to supporting organizations and charities to help those in need, and to support mining communities in any way is an honour,” he said.

The R2900G was unveiled and sold at a gala dinner late last year, with KCGM taking ownership and putting the machine to work at its Super Pit gold mine, the largest of its kind in the country.

The proceeds were divided amongst local charity organisations including the Goldfield Esperance Community Trust and charity Miner’s Promise to help provide support for the families of FIFO workers that had died working in mines.

Sharon Lawn is now a widow because of a workplace accident and she said Miner’s Promise provided more than just funds, delivering essential support during traumatic times.

“They were there to talk 24/7. I could ring this beautiful lady whenever (I wanted). The support is not just for the partner, it is for the whole family.”