Last Wednesday I got to go to a coal mine with Rotary. It was extremely interesting to see the differences of safety in the mines here compared to back in Canada. Ive been 5500 feet underground in Sudbury and I felt completely safe. Well at least it looks safe! In Sudbury the wall are either sprayed with some type of material that forms almost like a concrete or the wall of the tunnel will be meshed. Well in this mine, we only went 100-120 feet below the surface. I will admit i was scared. The picture above is the actual mine held up by those metal pillars and wood. Behind the supports is loose rock and no mesh. The big pipe on the right is for compressed air. You will be walking beside it and hear air leaking here and there. Not too bad yet..
Once we got there we went to watch a video. Thinking it was going to be a safety video or something we just waited and watched. Well the video was about the history of the mine and the workers. At one point it showed the whistle blowing for everyone to get to the cage to go underground and the narrator said. “oh, thats the signal for the miner to go underground. One last cigarette, a quid of tobacco (chewing tobacco) and they’re ready to go.” and as he said that it obviously showed the miners smoking and putting in chewing tobacco!
Anyways our tour guide spoke full english. That was awesome. He was an older guy, one of those guys that says a joke but doesn’t laugh so you don’t know if it was a joke or not. We took the shaft down, it was a quick ride but that as well was also sketchy!
Here is the elevator, 2-3 people wide, and 6-7 people deep, but of course you just have to squish as many as you can into it. It has 2 levels. In this picture you can see people locked up on top and people walking into the bottom. Also how if you look beside the person in the yellow hat, just below his shoulder there is a tube. That tube is to communicate with the shaft operator and that tube goes all the way down the shaft as well. Did i mention this mine was old? But going up our guide just decided it would be easier to yell up the hole to the operator, which worked!
Also during our tour he was warning us about how the deeper you go the more methane and gas problems you can get with bad ventilation. He was going on and on about how if there was a spark when there was gas everything could blow up and kill everybody. Again he’s being serious and straight faced. So everyone was in a tense mood because we just all went down this sketchy elevator to a sketchy mine and now he’s talking about gases that could either knock us out or blow us up! So what does he do? Pull out a lighter and light it, then watch all of us jump in the shock he just did that, then he laughed. Also he showed us how a pneumatic hammer works. Without ear protection for us or himself he just told us to plug our ears. He actually started using it on the ground beside him. Which was pretty crazy. Then we went to a lower level that had a small drill and a large drill side by side, told us to plug our ears again or it may hurt. started them and drilled into the wall! Yes it was effing loud and hit your chest hard with how loud it was.
Also at one point our guide handed a girl a stick of dynamite very quickly and the girl being startled it dropped out of her hands. The tour guide stared because he doesn’t laugh and said, “well its a good thing you need a blasting cap to set that off” So of course he pulls out a blasting cap and puts it in the dynamite, then gets a charge detonator that crates the blasting cap to go off and got someone to turn it. This trick was highly staged but she turned it and there was a boom from underneath us, but still we didn’t know what to think about our tour guide. But he made the tour that much better!
Im sure all in all that mine was pretty safe but I can almost guarantee that in Canada that tour would not meet standards. Like there was a part that I could’ve went down a 100 foot deposit of mined coal. like it was blocked off by like a string but thats all!
Also the only picture that is mine is the one of the train. This is the first event I remembered my camera. Being a mine and all with something I could relate to I got super excited and definitely brought my camera… Well I took 9 freaking pictures and my memory went full. Why? because I forgot my SD card. There was so much cool stuff to take pictures of and I couldn’t’! GRRRRRRR
All in all I’m loving my time here making friends is going awesome! School is also going awesome. I got a 10/15 on my first technical drawing after… Nobody explained to me what to do because everyone learned it the year before. But on my second technical drawing I got 15/15. Technical drawing is taking a 3D shape and putting the flat sides and dimension on paper like a blue print. Also I was in french class and the teacher gave every body a piece of paper but me so I was like ummm, moi aussi? and not knowing it was a test she gave me one too. Well i got 8.5/10, 85%! So that felt good!
A side note about school. During school time on Friday the machining teacher let my friend and I leave the school to go to the hardware store next door so that I could buy steel toe boots! Like it was 9:10am and he just let us leave school in our blue coveralls to buy some boots! Not complaining! 😛
Blog again soon! 🙂