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How is Opal Mined?

 How is Opal Mined? 

There are two methods of opal mining. Underground, which uses excavators and bulldozers to expose the opal level, and then opal is removed by pick! The second is underground mining, which involves sinking a shaft vertically through the sandstone and conglomerate levels, to the Opal levels, which are horizontal shafts dug through potential opal material. 


Our family moved to Mintabie over 30 years ago! We started Mining Opal with a pick, shovel, wheelbarrow and explosives!

30 years later we still have the “opal bug”, as they call it! These days we got some bigger toys to do the job- a 100 tonne excavator, and a 100 tonne truck!

There are two methods of mining opal.

Underground mining is the most common! 

“This method involves sinking a shaft through the sandstone and conglomerate layers, either by hand or with a one metre Caldwell drill, to reach the claystone, where 'levels' are then dug horizontally through potential opal bearing material. These 'levels' are dug either by hand or using power tools such as jackhammers or underground hydraulic digging machines.”  - Mining Opal , Resources and Geoscience NSW

If you haven’t seen Outback opal hunters yet, make sure you check it out to see how underground opal mining is done! 

The second method of Mining opal is called Open cut mining, which is what we specialise in! Check out the video to see how we find opal, first using the Bulldozer and Excavator to  expose the Opal level, and then we remove the Opal by pick! Some say finding opal is better than S _ _!

 


References 

 https://resourcesandgeoscience.nsw.gov.au/miners-and-explorers/applications-and-approvals/opal-mining/mining-overview

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