Early morning is the best time for summer mining. The air is still cool, with a lingering hazy mist surrounding the pit. Once the water is pumped and the generator has stopped, a quiet fills the air, disturbed only by the thwack of the hammer, a nearby woodpecker or the chattering of an angry squirrel.
In this quiet, before the miners with their ‘kibblers’* arrive, you can hear the echo of the crack resounding from deep within the ledge after a good thwack with the 4 lb sledgehammer on a wedge. The sound you love to hear – it means the rock is breaking.
The drusy layer is down deep. The final stage before you hit it is a hard, brutal cap layer. On occasion, when the largest wedge and heaviest hammer cannot break it, we will drill a few holes, pop in the pins and feathers and hammer on those until the piece cracks and can be maneuvered off with a long bar. As you might imagine, it takes a lot of determination to get to the drusy layer. The reward is worth the fight.
If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook (and if you’re not – why not? Click on the links at the bottom of the page!) you have no doubt seen all of the fascinating videos and photos of the 2018 mining season to date. Filled with incredible drusy pockets of epic proportions, as well as an entire ledge of barren, pocketless, hard, hard rock (75 wheelbarrows of rock broken and carted away) – it has been one of the most exciting seasons to date. Well, except for the hard, barren, frustratingly empty ledge which Chris has had the good fortune to work all season…ugh…
We decided to show them all here at one time! It is amazing to see the ‘perchers’ hanging from the ceiling of the pocket, the break offs lying on a bed of anthraxolite and some of the prettiest singles ever. There is just something magical in being the first to lay eyes on the amazing wonders of Mother Nature. The Earth is incredibly beautiful – inside and out. Enjoy the photos!
* aka crystal crushers - a kibbler is a jackhammer, designed to chip and chop through the hard layers of rock. What they end up with resembles dog kibble. Not only are they noisy but we can’t help but think of all the pretties we have found in mini pockets by working our claim by hand. They, in our opinion, are not getting some of the best singles. This will be a debate for another day.