Our Lightning Ridge road trip was way overdue, however, we finally were able to jump in the car and head south-west to the best mining town in Australia — in our humble opinion.
BOD’s wonderful friends Dave and Sebastian agreed to let us tag along, stick a camera in their faces, and hit them with a barrage of questions (lucky they love us).
Our objective was to showcase two of the different ways of mining and techniques.
Settle in, grab a coffee or whiskey, and come along with us to the Ridge.
Dave is an artisanal miner and his tools of choice are jackhammers, picks, wheelbarrows, and a bucket.
We head down underground into his awesome opal mining claim to see his progress.
This is an old original claim where they mined in darkness and when the pick hit suspected opal, they would light a candle.
Dave shows us through the ballrooms, pinpointing bands in the wall and faultlines.
His technique is to create small drives in different directions to determine where the opal lies.
The boulders of sandstone and clay are taken up by the hoist and tipped into the awaiting truck.
From here it’s off to the agitators.
Next, we catch up with Sebastian who is a full-time miner and president of the Lightning Ridge Miners Association.
Sebastian has been mining for opal for over 30 years and has been at this particular claim for over a decade.
The equipment used in Sebastian’s mine is of a larger scale and consists of a digger, driver, and blower (vacuum cleaner), to name a few.
Being an engineer like Sebastian is very helpful when you work in such a large mine.
From calculating his next drill down to equipment maintenance, being able to fix machinery yourself is vital in the outback.
As we chat with Sebastian he reflects on the history of opal mining in the Ridge and his outlook for the future of it.
His advice is to keep forging ahead.
Furthermore, if you are serious about acquiring a claim and starting your opal mining journey, then do it!
Thanks for joining us on our Lightning Ridge road trip and update on all things Opal mining.
We hoped you enjoyed the catch-up and may have learned something new.
Keep an eye out for our next cutting video of the nobby we picked up while in the Ridge.