July 20, 2000
A wee bit cooler this morning but by lunch time the sun came out and warmed things up a bit. I'm told that Sat is supposed to a hot day, but by whose standards? Here 80 degrees F is hot, (that's 27 degrees C for those of you who use metric).
Before we could drill another round Byron needed to saw out a few plates in a smallish cavity at the face. While he was doing that, Dave and I fired up the compressor and used the tugger to bring up the rest of the rail we had purchased from a defunct mine and the rail bender and hydraulic unit, all of which are way to heavy to carry up where the mine is perched on the cliff face. We also had to get the switch out of the way so we could use the tracks for the equipment. It was sitting on top of the tracks where it will eventually be put in place. The damn thing weighs a ton so all we did was lean it up against the wall and tied it to a post to keep it out of the way.
We then mucked out the little bit of debris so we could lay in the next set of tracks and be able to drill. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough room for a complete length of rail unless we wanted to jackhammer some rock. It seemed ludicrous since we were going to drill and shoot anyway and then there would be enough room. So, Dave just adjusted the tracks with the rail bender and set in another set of slider rails. Slider rails are a temporary set of rails set on there side, on the inside of the permanent rails, with the anvil part of the rail set into the webbing of the existing rail. This allows the mucker to ride beyond the end of the rails that are in place without getting stuck. Well, most of the time anyway. It's a multi step process using several lengths of rail, both for sliders and semi-permanent rails. Depending whether we are moving ahead in a straight tunnel or on a curve. Curves are the most labor intensive, using short pieces and then replacing them with slightly longer pieces until you have 18 feet to install the permanent set. In a straight tunnel you can use an 18 foot set of sliders and just keep pushing them forward as you make headway.
Dave had some business to attend to after lunch so I drill the next round. It was only 4 holes since we didn't want to over shoot the face and we had a lot of space to break to. Byron loaded the holes with just enough explosives to do the job and set off the round. It sounded like it was a good round and after 20 minutes, to let the air clear, we went in to what we had blasted into. There was a shit load of muck, more than I thought 4 holes would or should produce. The first thing you do when approaching the face after blasting is to check and scale the ceiling. Near the face was a large rock hanging from the ceiling that looked bad enough to try and bar it out. It was loose so it had to come out, no one would want to or should want to work beneath it. It was one of those things, it was loose but wouldn't come out. For nearly 2 hours I barred and pried and poked at it, little by little it kept dropping but wouldn't come down. We often use water to wash out mud that may be preventing rocks from coming down and Byron washed and washed around the boulder but still it wouldn't come down. After some time I exchange the 3 foot bar for our 6 foot bar since I didn't want to be near the thing when it did come down. Of course, the muck pile was sloped towards me, and the exit, and I knew when it did come down it would roll my way. Finally, when it did come down I dropped the bar and ran down the tunnel with the boulder in hot pursuit. Luckily, it wasn't round so it roll far. I nearly climbed over Byron standing back about ten feet behind me. Of course, the rock rolled over our water hose and it sprung about 10 leaks. Better the hose than me. Enough for one day, it was late so off to the pub for a much needed beer.
Funny thing, there was no fluorite was showing at the face and we are in about 8 feet from the nice cavity that we found on the left side. The "flat" might be a series of enescheolon (sp?) cavities and not continuous. We are still in the altered Limestone and the right hand wall is becoming more and more altered with calcite seams. The fluorite cavities might be controlled by the faulting with cavities existing in the middle between the faults. I'll tell you after we dig the entire flat out, can't see into the rock.
Tomorrow, we will scale the ceiling again and the face to see if we can find a fluorite seam. Then the decision will be made whether we will drill and blast again or not.
Till tomorrow, Cheers, Jim