July 8, 2000

Typical English weather, cold, cloudy and threatening to rain, which it did on our way home at the end of the day. If Paul thinks it is depressing, how can he live in San Francisco? If you want the sun move to SoCal, but then you have to give up the natural green and lush environment.

Byron and I spent the day digging out more fluorite crystals. The upper seam is opening up and in the back of the pocket I found a crystal larger than anything we've seen thus far. It's on the ceiling which makes it calcite free. The calcite generally coats the crystals on the floor of the cavities and sometimes takes away the luster from the faces. It appears to be about 3 X 2 X 2 inches but it is hard to tell. They always look bigger and better while they are still in the pocket. Mining stories are like fishing stories, so I'm trying to be conservative in my estimate.

In order to remove this particular crystal an enormous amount of rock must be removed to get to it. I suggested that before we attempt it we should remove the crystals that we have been standing/sitting on first. We had covered them up with bubble wrap to keep them from being damaged, so we spent the afternoon removing the two lower seams of fluorite. By the end of the day the middle seam opened up much like the upper seam and Byron pulled out a 1 1/4 inch cube that has only one small place where it had been attached. We call the crystal "The Borg" since is has the appearance of the Borg ship in "Star Trek, The Next Generation". I know it will sell since resistance is futile, Paul's statement. There is still a lot of material in the 2 lower seams that needs to be removed prior to resuming in the upper level. Monday's job.

Dave, meanwhile, continued his work on the switch between the new drift and the main tunnel. There is a lot of work involved in building a switch and I see why people buy ready made switches instead of making their own. If we had a ready made switch we would have to conform the tracks to fit it, instead, we are building the switch to conform to our tracks, much easier in the long run. When we install the switch we will also reduce the curvature of the track in the new drift. This tight curve has been giving us problems since we started, the ore car and mucker frequently jump the track here. Every few days we put grease on the curve so the equipment can make it around it. We had to have this tight curve to be able to use the mucker there. Now, the tunnel is long enough that debris from our blasting never reaches that far so we can modify the track and have a more gentle curve.

Tomorrow we are going to the Beamish Open Air Museum. They are reputed to have the best collection of mining memorabilia.

Till Monday, Cheers, Jim

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