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REPORT

Boulby Potash Mine

18th January 2011 - Nigel Dibben - NZ 7618 1829

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Nigel Dibben

On the surface with the rock shaft behindEd had arranged a visit to the North York Moors and Cleveland for DCC members and friends. There was Ed, Bev, John, Heather, John C, Kevin and ?.

On the Monday, the alum quarries near Staithes were visited and an iron mine, Spa Wood Mine, descended in the company of Simon Chapman, local expert on the ironstone mines. Neil Rowley of Cleveland Potash kindly lent an oxygen monitor for the safety of the exploration of the iron mine. They all returned safely!

On Tuesday, Nigel joined the group for the visit to Boulby. Neil gave a very informative introduction to the mine, it’s method of working and it’s history and then we changed into underground gear: shorts, tee-shirt and hi-vis jerkin. The descent was via the man shaft using the smaller (northern) cage designed for twelve men but a tight fit for seven and two women. At the bottom, it was strangely dark (no, I know what I am saying!) as there were some problems with the main power feed to the mine. We walked to the transit van and started off on the journey to the face. Unfortunately, the power problem meant that work had ceased at the face and we were obliged to turn back and make do with a visit to the workshops and pumps.

All of this was of course still interesting but meant that we stayed in the halite beds all day. Later, we returned to the shaft and took the cage back to day where we added an extra layer of clothing before taking a tour round the surface plant. Without the plant working, we were able to visit the winding house, the treatment plant and the various storage facilities. Then it was back to change, to have a brief word with the mine manager and a final chat with Neil before we set off home.

My personal thanks go to Ed for giving me the chance to join the group and of course to Neil and Cleveland Potash for hosting the visit. I’m now looking forward to the next time when hopefully we will be able to see the ‘sharp’ end.

While we were there, Neil spoke about an article in the Daily Mail about Dark Matter and if anyone wants to read this, the article is linked from this report. According to this, Neil is an astrophysicist. It also includes a picture of the Dark Matter skip, placed, it is said, by the miners ready for the lab to put in their dark matter when they find it. 

Below 1: On the surface with the rock shaft behind   

Picture 1: On the surface with the rock shaft behind

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