July 29, 2000

We had a thunder storm today that reminded me of the monsoons in Africa. We were in the container having lunch when it started, first some thunder, then drops the size of quarters started falling, then it really started raining. Within a few minutes everything was inundated with water and low areas were flooded and over flowing. There was enough rain to wash off the rocks on the dump that were covered with mud, now that's a lot of rain. There was another thunder storm later in the day but not nearly as heavy as the first one. In between the storms the sun broke out. All in all it was a warm day anyway.

Dave and I finished mucking out the new drift and prepared to lay a section of new track there. Byron had pretty much cleared out all the exposed crystals late yesterday so we had the tunnel to ourselves. After measuring for the length we wanted to fit we found that there were several high areas and a corner that was still in the way. The high areas were removed with the 80 LB jackhammer but the corner had to be shot so we drilled and shot it and then mucked the tunnel clean again. The tunnel is curving to the left slightly so we had to conform the tracks to the curve, a very time consuming job. The first track was bent into shape of the tunnel and placed on ties (sleepers) that we dug into place. The second rail was bent to fit the tunnel but the final adjustment were made while bolting it to the sleepers. There is a half inch tolerance in the distance between the rails, especially on a curve, in order to keep the machines from jumping the track. We have a portable track bender to do the job, (portable, yes but it takes two men to move each part and there are two parts).

It was decided that we will drill and shoot another round in the main tunnel before installing a new section of rail. That will have to wait until next week.

Byron, meanwhile, worked on rebuilding the chains and bars for the diamond chain saw. He replaced the sprocket on the end of one bar and took out one link on chains that had stretched to much. He also replaced the adjustment device on the saw that had stretched to the point that the tool provided with the saw wouldn't work very well. He is now ready for action.

More of a maintenance day than a mining day. That's the way it is in this business, you really never know what you'll be doing in any given day.

Till Monday. Cheers, Jim

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