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Thread: the first miner out!

  1. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Pac NW


    Didn't post earlier as I didn't want to jinx the operation. But yesterday I was driving home & happened to come behind a beatup Ford Explorer with a couple of the most unique Mining signs I had seen. Probably more so because this is lefty country.

    The Explorer pulls over to look for elk, so I pull in behind him to see what's up with the stickers. Turns out the guy is a driller & powder monkey, 5th generation with, as he says the 6th sitting in the passenger seat. We shoot the breeze & I ask him what he thinks of the rescue. As a driller he was impressed that they could put a hole down, that large a diameter, in the time they did.

    I spent 10 years underground doing everything from being a contract miner to mine management so know just a little about mining. Do you know how dark it is underground when your miner's lamp goes out? & how quiet, except for the timber talking as it is put through the processs of shoring the openings.

    Fortunately for the miners, Chile has a culture & tradition of mining. I won't list the things that could have gone wrong with rookies at the controls! The company also must have kept good records, not all mines do, so they were able to locate the opening that held the miners with their initial attempt. The little cage that the men were hoisted in was very innovative, one has to believe that it was an available piece of equipment, why is beyond me. I have been on a cage that was without guides to look at a caving air shaft, You have to use a loading stick to stop the cage from spinning as the cable has a tendency to want to unwind when it is not guided.

    I am very happy for the miners, on my trips through the Couer D'Alenes I stop at Exit 72 (Big Creek) to look at the memorial to the 92 miners killed in a mine fire. When I graduated from UW this company was 1 of 2 that offered me a job, & though it was more money my mining prof said I would learn more working for a bigger company. He was right & as I look at that memorial I realize just how much.

    Marvin S

    Everyone's friend is No One's friend

    Someday your life will flash before your eyes. It's your responsibility to make sure it's worth watching!

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  3. #12
    Senior Member Hew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003


    Quote Originally Posted by Marvin S View Post
    Do you know how dark it is underground when your miner's lamp goes out? & how quiet, except for the timber talking as it is put through the processs of shoring the openings.
    Boy, I know. There's a lot of limestone caves in middle of nowhere in North-Central Florida. While in school in Gainesville after a night of partying me and two friends decided it would be "like, totally cool" to continue the party and then crash in the cave. We entered the main cave and went way on back to one room...we had to belly crawl about 5 yds to get into it....a room about 8 x 8 x 4 high. We lit a small, but long candle and commenced to finish our beers. As I was getting sleepy (in retrospect, probably from CO poisoning ) I safely tucked my flashlight under my leg. I wake up, who knows how long later to the darkest and quietest place in the universe. I reached for my can find. I called/groped for my can find. Now I'm starting to FA-REAK. In sheer panic I start crawling around the cave looking for my flashlight and/or my friends. I'm sure it was only about 30 seconds, but it was the longest 30 seconds of my life, and then I bumped into the flashlight I'd fallen asleep with. Crawled out of the caves and my buddies were asleep in the car. I couldn't get mad because I was just thrilled they hadn't driven home without me. Before that night I was never claustrophobic, but I am now. I got the willies just thinking/typing about the cave. I had to have an MRI a few years ago...was in there for about 30 seconds and was screaming to get out. The nurse said the doc could write a script for a sedative and I could come back. I asked her how many Vicadins would it take for her to be able to calmly sit inside her house while it burned down around her. I honestly think I'd rather die than go in an enclosed MRI again.
    I'll take the river down to still water and ride a pack of dogs.

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