What is it like to go opal mining at Lightning Ridge?
Here is your chance to find out by mining the 'King Beaudy mine.
Every month, a prize pocket of free opal awaits a lucky miner. To see this months parcel of free opal, click here.
The successful miner will be announced on the last day of each month, and subsequently pictured in the Miners Hall of Fame click here.
Most mining is done by small mining operations on a 50 metre square claim, using an electric jackhammer, picks, shovels, self tipping hoist, sweat and tears (usually as gems are broken with the pick). This site shows you how this is done.
Shaft: Three foot hole enabling miners to enter mine by ladder. Typically from 20 to 60 feet deep. Things that regularly fall down the shaft are rocks, lizards, snakes, and miners.
Drive: Tunnels underground leading from the main shaft to the opposite direction from where opal can be found.
Opal Level: pink, brown or white claystone layer in which opal is found or (usually) not found. Normally soft to dig but invariably becomes hard as concrete in the direction you want to go.
Roof: Tough sandstone above opal level suitable for hitting your head.
Props: Wooden posts , often found in neighbours mines, used to support roofs.
Slide: Large fault in opal dirt associated with opal formation - see also Mecca.
Slippery Back: Loose or wet slide that can collapse and crush passing miners.
Ballroom: Large open chambers underground where opal has been found, usually by someone else.
Gougin': Hand mining with a small pick, the old fashioned way, the way real men did it.
Potch: Common opal without colour sent to torment miners.
Nobby: Nodule of opal - see also Holy Grail.
Pocket: Small cluster of nobbies - enough for a beer and some diesel.
Run: Million dollar cluster of red and multicolour on black nobbies that exist only in your dreams.
Trace: Fine lines of promising opal that always peter out.
Dogstones:Fist size lumps of silcrete in the opal level that can contain opal.
Ratter: person who sneaks into someone elses mine and steals opal. Highly organised with night vision goggles, guns and two way radios, they find out about a lucky strike even before mining partners.
Bastards: Ratters, cheating partners, cheating wives, adjacent claim holders, neighbours, thieving kids, opal buyers, banks, anyone from the government.
Mining Equipment: A hardhat and safety boots must be worn at all times when mining opal. A torch is required for when the generator runs out or somebody kicks the power cord, as well as some water in the event of a cave in (imported French mineral water is best on these occasions).
Mine Entry Rules:To enter this mine, and be eligible to find the free opal pocket, the following rules apply. Please read these carefully:
1. The location of the opal pocket, and the successful miner, will be announced on the last day of each month.
2. The successful miner each month must send a photo either electronically or via the mail system for publication in the Miners Hall of Fame - click here. prior to the opal pocket prize being sent to the successful miner.
3. In the event of two or more miners finding the location of the opal pocket, the miner considered to be first on site (ie whose email is dated and timed earliest) will be the successful miner. The names of the other correctly located but unsuccessful miners will also be mentioned, though to prevent a bloody mining dispute the addresses and surnames of all miners will be kept confidential.
4. Only one mine entry per person and/or email address is allowed each month.
5. The successful miner must find the exact location of the pocket. If no miner finds the location, the opal parcel will jackpot to the next month, with an additional pocket being added each month.
6. Minors are not allowed to be miners (all mine entrants must be over 18 years old).
7. Any disputes will be arbitrated by the Mining Warden and Local Magistrate of the local kangaroo court (i.e. the webmaster).