South Crofty Mine Underground 7: Photography in the mine was a huge challenge. Because the heat and humidity were always an issue. So many images were lost due to fogged up lenses.
Very often after several hours underground the wellie boots I would be wearing would be full of sweat.On my first trip underground I had to beg some water from a miner as I was suffering mild dehydration. I never made that mistake again!
When it was hot, it got hotter. However it was always the final walk up the 1:4 incline back to the 400 fathom shaft station that was the killer.
This is the second page of Diamond Drilling Images.
South Crofty Mine Underground 7.1 – The first image on this page is of John Usoro washing a box of drill cores. The miner operating the Diamond Drill is Tony Crocker.
South Crofty Mine Underground 7.2 – One of my favorites on this page. A closer view of Tony Crocker operating the drill.
South Crofty Mine Underground 7.3 – The diamond drill from the other side. The secure bracing can be seen which held the drill in place.
South Crofty Mine Underground 7.4 – Here we see John Usoro, examining diamond drill cores behind the driller.
South Crofty Mine Underground 7.5 – A very nicely lit image of the same drill and driller. With the machine running there was no way of hearing anything over the roar.
South Crofty Mine Underground 7.6 – A good close image of Tony Crocker at the controls of the drill.
South Crofty Mine Underground 7.7 – A final image of Tony Crocker operating this amazing drill.
At a different location. These next images are some of the best I have taken underground. It was one of the few chances I had to set up a Slave Flashgun. This was a sensor on the flash that would register the light from the flash on the camera and set itself off. Due to lack of time getting this working was usually impossible.
South Crofty Mine Underground 7.8 – Diamond Driller Jonny Wedlake looking on as a few final adjustments are made to the Diamond Drill, by Paul “Snitcher” Richards.
South Crofty Mine Underground 7.9 – In this image the drill is being connected to the drill core. Water can be seen coming out of the drill core in the rock face.
South Crofty Mine Underground 7.10 – Another image of adjustments being made to the Bazooka Drill.
South Crofty Mine Underground 7.11 – This drill was a Boyles Bazooka Diamond Drill Rig. It would usually be used for holes 30 – 40m deep. However it was used up to 100m by South Crofty.
South Crofty Mine Underground 7.12 – The final connections are made and the drill is ready for use.
South Crofty Mine Underground 7.13 – The drill starts its work. Jonny Wedlake is on the left and Jonny Nicholls is at the back controlling the speed of the drill. Always time for a laugh and a joke.
South Crofty Mine Underground 7.14 – The drill is up and running. The flashgun is diffused due to the reflective vapour in the air.
South Crofty Mine Underground 7.15 – Paul “Snitcher” Richards keeps a close eye on the drill as it does its work. Both he and Jonny are smoking, this was allowed as it was a hard rock mine with no chance of explosive gases.
South Crofty Mine Underground 7.16 – Paul Richards watching the working end of the drill. Also, the water used to keep the dust down can be seen coming out of the drilled hole.
This was such a good opportunity to photograph this drill in use. The confines of the passage also added to the lighting effect. The extreme noise of the drill in the passage was also very uncomfortable.
South Crofty Mine Underground 7.17 – I really like this and the following images. Because the lighting is so effective.
South Crofty Mine Underground 7.18 – Jonny Wedlake drilling, “Snitchers” with his back to camera. Jonny Nicholls in the background. This is one of the best images on that I have from the mine.
South Crofty Mine Underground 7.19 – Controlling the drill was a two man job.
South Crofty Mine Underground 7.20 – Another image of the two miners. Jonny Nicholls looks on, deep in concentration.
South Crofty Mine 7.21 – Jonny Nicholls controlling the drill still finds time for a bit of a laugh.
South Crofty Mine 7.22 – It was a noisy and difficult job. However it was essential to the mines survival that new lodes were discovered.
South Crofty Mine 7.23 – A close image of Jonny. Its a pity part of the drill was in the way, but it was well worth printing.
South Crofty Mine 7.24 – Moving up the passage with the slave flash in place adds a bit more perspective to the image.
South Crofty Mine 7.25 – A second image of the same team of miners taken further up the passage. The lighting is very effective, because it is was always nice when the slave flash actually fired. With all the vapour around more than often it didn’t.
Jonny has kindly written a few lines for me about his work at South Crofty:
South Crofty Mine 7.26 – John Usoro Mine Geologist leaning against a Clayton Locomotive. He is watching as drill cores are arranged in their boxes.
I ran a Boyles Bazooka underground coring rig. It was a small access compressed air driven two man drilling rig running TT 46mm drill string and core barrel with a slightly over sized reamer. The spec of the machine was up to 50m over 360 degrees but we ran her up to 130m over any inclination.
South Crofty Mine 7.27 – Tony Crocker with Jonny Nicholls in the background.
The rig was made up of a ram on a rail fixed to the wall with a rock bolt. Then the rig was mounted on a large acro prop to allow the rig to drop down to pull the drill string. This was done manually on shallow holes up to 50m but pulled with a air driven rod handler if a down hole was drilled. The drill was rated at 130 decibels in the open but in a blind end with no vent it could be 200 so we used ear plugs and muffs. Pulling the rods by hand was very strenuous. I remember after about 2 weeks of it hardly being able to drive my car home due to cramps in my arms from the work.
South Crofty Mine 7.28 – In this image the metal drill tubes are being emptied into the core sample box. Tony Crocker with his back to the camera, Jonny Nicholls in the background.
Me and snitcher on 420 level used to drink 5 litres of re hydration solution every shift and still piss brown. The rig was a vast user of compressed air. About 400 cfm which was piped under ground via the shaft in 8′ pipe. The miners in our vicinity used to complain of the massive usage of the bazooka when we went on. They found their air legs on the rock drills used to sag with all the air we used. We used to try and run on the back shift so as not to use all the air but then the trammers winged as we were using their air!
South Crofty Mine 7.29 – With the metal drill tubes removed from the rock the cores are emptied into wooden boxes. From here they would be taken to the surface for analysis.
The set up of the rig was vital as you could be in one point in the mine drilling 10 different holes of various angles and length from a single drilling set up. I was most unfortunate to be placed by the great cross course fault on the 420 level for 5 weeks where it was very wet . A kind of Chinese water torture from the water dripping on my hat! We only had a small spot to roll a cigarette from our dripping nose to our dripping helmet brim.
South Crofty Mine 7.30 – Removing the Diamond Drill Cores from the face was hard work (Jonny Nicholls).
The other thing we did on a Friday was drink. Several of us would meet up and you could always tell crofts men as they would shout at each other in the bar still thinking we had ear plugs in. The response was a clinical eye contact as you still thought you had a head lamp on!!!!
Bloody funny in a night club.
South Crofty Mine 7.31 – And harder, there was not enough room in the drives to use a machine to aid the miner (Jonny Nicholls).
South Crofty Mine 7.32 – The final image on this page. Diamond Drillers Jonny Nicholls(L) and Tony Crocker(R) arranging the cores from a drill hole. The drill controls are in the foreground.
South Crofty Mine Underground 8