July 23, 2000
A cloudy and somewhat cool day. The sun didn't come out until around 4 in the afternoon and then only for a few minutes.
Dave and I cleaned out Mick and Lindsay's tunnel the first thing in the morning to allow Byron time to trim the large specimens with the chain saw that are along the tunnel wall in the new drift. We hand mucked about a "tub" (ore car) full of debris that had been dislodged from our early blasting in the new drift that runs parallel and just a few feet to the east of the original tunnel. Now the tunnel is ready and we will be working 2 faces soon.
Byron was still poking in the pocket when we ready to muck out the new tunnel and he still hadn't trimmed the specimens. So while he was getting around to trimming the specimens, Dave took the time to remove about and inch and a half from the leading edge of the car so the bucket on the mucker wouldn't get stuck while dumping. It has been an on going problem, but not any more. Now, when the bucket slams back against the heavy springs mounted on the back of the machine the material is launched into the ore car. If you stand behind the car you get splattered with gobs of mud, that never happened before.
It wasn't long after we started mucking the face that we saw that we needed to use the 80Lb jackhammer to remove rock in the floor that was still in place. We finally had enough room to lay in a full 18 foot length of rail and removed the sliders and short section of rail previously installed. Selecting a piece of rail already bent, Dave and I bent it some more to conform to our tunnel and placed it in the drift to see how it looked. We saw right away that there was going to be a problem using the mucker at the face. Our tunnel had gotten very narrow, to narrow to operate the mucker at and we either had to remove some rock from the right side, the fault side, or the left side, the pocket side. We discussed the pros and cons of this for about 45 minutes.
If we enlarged the left side and opened the pocket area we would immediately more than double the width of the drift and the ceiling is already dicey at best and would definitely warrant timbering. That's why we were keeping as narrow a tunnel as possible. We were hoping that we could keep the nice solid wall of the fault as a right hand wall since the alteration is offset there. We are just now coming into altered rock on the that side.
The decision was made to remove rock from the right side for two reasons. One, we curved the tunnel about 15 degrees to the west to run parallel to the fault and by removing rock from this side we would straighten out the tunnel making life much easier for us. And two, we feel that we are just coming into the flat and want a cross section of it. Assuming that we are just coming into the flat the better and bigger material should lie ahead of us. Byron will remove as much material as possible to enable us to drill and shoot the face without doing damage to the material left behind and make further progress into the zone. We may still have to add some supports but not full square sets.
Cal made his first visit to the mine and was impressed by the new drift and what we had found. He agrees that we are probably just coming into the flat and should push ahead as soon as possible.
This next week will be busy with visitors. We expect five people on Monday and several repeats on Tuesday. On Wednesday, four representatives from the Church of England are due to arrive after lunch along with Mick and Lindsey. It will be Mick and Lindsay's first visit this season and they should be impressed by our new tunnel. Our tunnel is almost the same length as their drift and it took us 1 month to excavate it where it took them 25 years to excavate theirs. But lets be fair, they had pockets all along the tunnel, only worked weekends and was more of a hobby and certainly not full time job. Our tunnel was solid Limestone and we just drilled, shot and mucked until we reach the flat. I don't know how they got along without the diamond chain saw to remove specimens!
More tomorrow. Cheers, Jim