Friday, July 24, 2015

Greetings from Weardale.

The weather this week has been caught in some sort of reoccurring loop. Cool and overcast in the morning, clouds break up a bit during the day, but then close back in again, threatening rain that never quite seems to materialize. Early evening the clouds depart, giving us a clear, cool, and breezy evening. Overnight the clouds return, sometimes giving a bit of rain but never very much. This morning starts as usual.

Dave was back from his bike race in Belgium on Wednesday. Unfortunately, it seems that a reoccurring problem with one of the pistons coming to bits kept him from much racing, but he thinks he knows what the problem is. With his next race meet in about four weeks, I suspect that he will be spending much of his time away from us in his work shed tearing the thing to bits and putting it back together.

Wednesday morning at the mine was spent cleaning up the mess we had made collecting at the face over the previous week. More than a few tubs of rock later, Dave was able to begin drilling the face for the next blast. It was a time-consuming process as much of the rock in the face is highly fractured, making it difficult to drill holes that didn’t collapse as soon as the drill steel was removed. While the drilling was in progress, Cal, Ian and I spent a bit of time digging at some fluorite seams along the tunnel wall a bit back from the face. A number of decent specimens turned up, and I suspect we will be spending more time there once we are back to collecting at the face. The shot was finally fired around 1800, and we locked up for the day.

Yesterday morning at the mine was one of those “oh dear!” moments, when we opened up and went to inspect the face. Instead of the nice neat pile of rock in the drift we were hoping for, what we found was a huge jumble of timber mixed with some very large rocks. Evidently, along with moving the face forward, the shot had brought down a couple very large rocks from the ceiling, which in turn, had demolished our latest set of timber. Any hopes of getting the face mucked out quickly and getting back to collecting quickly vanished. Today’s photo is of Ian inspecting the damage.

Much of the day was spent clearing away fallen rock, retrieving timbers, and reconstructing the timber set. A compounding problem was that the muck pile is now at the extent of our set of sliders – temporary rails that allow mucking forward until enough space has been cleared to install another set of permanent rail. When mucking at the limit of the sliders, the Eimco has a tendency to derail, particularly when trying to deal with large rocks, such as those that recently came out of our roof. Fortunately, Dave is pretty good at getting the beast back on track, as I think it happened at least five times. By the end of day we finally had enough of the muck pile removed, that we can now begin installing the new section of rail, which will be the first project for today. After that, we can continue mucking the face and then get another timber set installed. This all sounds rather ambitious, and I will be very surprised if we accomplish it all today. Guess we’ll know in a few hours.

Stay tuned for more.


Jesse, Ian, Cal & Kerith

Sometimes things dont go quite according to plan.

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