Open mine thread

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Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:30 am

Your zone to provide updates in comments on the rescue of Brant Webb and Todd Russell. Events could move quickly; hit Google News for the latest. Yes, I am asking you to do my work for me!

UPDATE. Headline in the Arab Times:

Australia miners unlikely to be rescued

A crucial couple of words were omitted. They appear in the opening paragraph:

Two Australian miners trapped a kilometre (half-mile) underground for the past 11 days are unlikely to be rescued until Sunday because the last few inches of an escape tunnel will have to be carefully dug by hand, officials said.

Might want to work on those metric-imperial conversions, too. Nine News reported earlier that rescuers were hopeful of bringing the men to the surface by early Sunday morning (2-3am), but that has since been reviewed. Current estimate: between 10am and midday. Much thanks to everybody for updating in comments.

Posted by Tim B. on 05/05/2006 at 12:43 PM
    1. Do we get long lunches with wine?

      The link under “rescue” is a great catchup on the story. Tons of detail.

      Posted by m on 2006 05 05 at 02:10 PM • permalink


    1. Nope, it’s this link (SMH)

      that’s a great catchup.

      Sorry, sorry, sorry.

      Posted by m on 2006 05 05 at 02:13 PM • permalink


    1. No problem, Tim!  Enjoy the weekend.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2006 05 05 at 02:36 PM • permalink


    1. Boring through solid rock to reach them would’ve been easy if John Kenneth Galbraith had lived another week.

      Posted by Rittenhouse on 2006 05 05 at 02:48 PM • permalink


    1. No worries, Rittenhouse—we still have John Kerry to do our boring for us.

      Posted by Monroe Doctrine on 2006 05 05 at 02:56 PM • permalink


    1. Just what went on at the Bellevue Hotel, hunh?

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2006 05 05 at 03:32 PM • permalink


    1. 6: I’m not sure, exactly, but I hear they ran out of that tape that says “Police Line -Do Not Cross”.

      Posted by paco on 2006 05 05 at 04:38 PM • permalink


    1. Yes, I am asking you to do my work for me!—Tim B.

      Well, that certainly doesn’t sound like asking.  Sounds more like an order.  And I would ignore it except I sense Andrea lurking out there.

      Posted by wronwright on 2006 05 05 at 04:53 PM • permalink


    1. Yes, I am asking you to do my work for me!

      See what happens under Howard’s IR laws!!!!

      Posted by spyder on 2006 05 05 at 05:21 PM • permalink


    1. I thought this lead-in was really misleading (and down-letting):

      “rescuers were last night preparing to chip away by hand the last 50cm of rock”

      Hold on: They’re preparing–[after they bore through 7 more meters of rock]–to chip away at the last 0.50.

      Maybe “making plans to.”

      Posted by m on 2006 05 05 at 05:36 PM • permalink


    1. Why don’t we organise a live cross to Bill Shorten?  I’m sure he’d be more than happy to live-blog events….

      Posted by Kaboom on 2006 05 05 at 05:42 PM • permalink


    1. I understand Channel 7 are digging their own tunnel so they can supply 7-logo-branded ‘Kokoda’ t-shirts and baseball caps to the miners before they emerge.  Harry M. Miller is lunching with Bill Shorten.  More as it comes to hand…(morse code music theme)…

      Posted by cuckoo on 2006 05 05 at 06:03 PM • permalink


    1. As at 07:37 from the ABC :

      * The drilling of the rescue tunnel is over two-thirds complete

      * Progress has been delayed by the header on the drill digging the tunnel becoming unstable and requiring repairs.

      * There are three metres of the 14.5 metre rescue tunnel left to drill.

      * The last metre or so of rock will be cut away by hand.

      * One man will lie on his back and use hand tools to cut out the final passage to the men in a process expected to take several hours.

      Posted by Zoe Brain on 2006 05 05 at 06:21 PM • permalink


    1. #12
      No, no, no, your source is wrong Cuckoo.

      It’s all Channel 9 with Eddie Maguire yelling down the hole, “What wants to be a millionaire?”

      — Nora

      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2006 05 05 at 06:23 PM • permalink


    1. This picture was emailed to me, from an unknown source as to what the Bellevue was AFTER, the fact.

      Posted by El Cid on 2006 05 05 at 07:08 PM • permalink


    1. Zoe, I would discount the idea of mining the last metre or two “by hand” – that is with rock picks – unless you think of another few weeks to do it.  (ABC stupid speculation again.) If you think of yourself up the end of a blind 1m diameter tunnel, you can’t swing a pick, so its a bit difficult.

      More likely they will use hand held boring machines – something like an airleg pneumatic drill usually used to drill holes for placing explosive – to punch through multiple (dozens) 2-3 inch holes until the rock in between the holes weakens so much that they can hack away and make an opening to crawl through.

      Re the most recent delay – sounds like the concrete footing for the big raise borer has become loose.

      Posted by Stop Continental Drift! on 2006 05 05 at 07:27 PM • permalink


    1. Just read the SMH article posted by m, above.

      Pretty good (shock, horror!), except for the bit about quoting (who else?) the union rep saying how rocks could ‘explode’.  Yes they can, but not in the way the union guy indicated.

      Posted by Stop Continental Drift! on 2006 05 05 at 07:39 PM • permalink


    1. OT: if anything deserves to be Fisked and or mocked its Leunig’s self pitying onanism in today’s Age.

      Posted by Nic on 2006 05 05 at 09:34 PM • permalink


    1. #18, Hey, cut the guy some slack, Nic.  It’s not easy to write with crayons, and with those funny sleeves that tie up in the back.  But as for that column, if you walked down the street saying it out loud, people would cross the road to avoid you: if you write it up in the Age, you get a nice cheque and probably a Walkley.

      Posted by cuckoo on 2006 05 05 at 09:59 PM • permalink


    1. THEY ARE SAVED!!  They were given hot chicken soup last night.

      Well it won’t do any harm…

      Posted by geoff on 2006 05 05 at 10:12 PM • permalink


    1. i hope i get thi first

      Rescuers to reach pair ‘tomorrow’

      Posted by Mospact on 2006 05 05 at 10:17 PM • permalink


    1. Ah ha, Victory is mine muhahahahahahaha

      Posted by Mospact on 2006 05 05 at 10:22 PM • permalink


    1. Also some good advertising for Mcdonald’s
      Miner wants fast food fix

      Paramedic Peter James talked to the men overnight and said Mr Russell was yearning for a McDonald’s takeaway.

      Posted by Mospact on 2006 05 05 at 10:25 PM • permalink


    1. Sorry Mospact. No cigar. You misspelt “thsi”

      Posted by geoff on 2006 05 05 at 10:27 PM • permalink


    1. They are using the matzo balls to sharpen the drill bit.

      Posted by geoff on 2006 05 05 at 10:40 PM • permalink


    1. And if “Victory is mine…” was intended as a pun, it is bloody awful.

      Posted by geoff on 2006 05 05 at 10:45 PM • permalink


    1. #24 yeah i know, i was hopeing no one would notice.

      Naturally i blame webdiary for this.

      Posted by Mospact on 2006 05 05 at 10:46 PM • permalink


    1. Gah!  Anyone guess why I disrespect the media.

      Page 8 of today’s Weekend Australian.  A graphic showing miners huddled in cage on left, boring machine on right and tunnel being bored through rock in between.

      To illustrate how the tunnel will be broken through to the miner’s side, they show a guy standing upright in the rescue tunnel, holding what looks like a home power drill to the rock face.

      The rescue tunnel is 1m diameter and after its lined with iron (to help stop rock falls, although chance is slight) it will be about 0.9m diameter.  So the Australian thinks the final stage will be completed by a 0.7m high midget with a wood drill do they?

      Sorry to bang on about this, but its not as if The Australian hasn’t had about 5 days to get suitable graphics…

      Posted by Stop Continental Drift! on 2006 05 05 at 10:57 PM • permalink


    1. While Tim’s off enjoying the weekend, did anybody else watch the video of Naomi Robson? It advertised ‘More videos at’. So I went there to find the Naomi Robson F-word-a-thon and it’s a porn site. I wonder if this is part of Rupert’s Fox Interactive Media strategy?

      Posted by anagallis on 2006 05 05 at 11:25 PM • permalink


    1. #18: I believe Leunig has lifted a photograph of a cave painting, made by the early homo sapiens subspecies, Doofus Pacificus, which was ultimately hunted to extinction by saber-toothed right wing death beasts.

      Posted by paco on 2006 05 05 at 11:36 PM • permalink


    1. #18 So, now he’s wanking on wombats (“sweet, waddling”)? Won’t the ducks be jealous!

      Posted by MentalFloss on 2006 05 06 at 12:01 AM • permalink


    1. Could someone tunnel into my television and release Shorten?

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2006 05 06 at 01:17 AM • permalink


    1. Sheesh. I think I know how those guys feel. Sitting around in the dark waiting for news. I bet they’ve run out of footy stories.

      My old mother spotted a rat crossing a busy highway the other day. Scurrying among the traffic. So she rang the local council to report it.

      Mother: I’ve just seen a rat crossing the road.

      Council Officer: Where?

      Mother: Just north of Sexton’s Hill.

      Council Officer: Was it crossing east to west or west to east?

      Mother: West to east. Why?

      Council Officer: Just wanted to know whether it was going to work or if the little bludger has knocked off early again.

      Posted by geoff on 2006 05 06 at 02:08 AM • permalink


    1. Mother: I’ve just seen a rat crossing the road.

      Council Officer’s Supervisor: So? What do you expect for your rates? An elephant?

      Posted by geoff on 2006 05 06 at 02:21 AM • permalink


    1. Mother: I’ve just seen a rat crossing the road.

      Council Officer’s Supervisor’s Supervisor: Bloody chickens. What do they think this is? Halloween?

      Posted by geoff on 2006 05 06 at 02:28 AM • permalink


    1. Oops. That should be Bloody chickens. What do they think this is? Halloween?

      Posted by geoff on 2006 05 06 at 02:30 AM • permalink


    1. Critical surveying requirements of rescue operation explained here

      Posted by JAFA on 2006 05 06 at 03:34 AM • permalink


    1. Jesus.  I cannot believe that the Beaconsfield operators have been allowed to dig a 925 metre deep tunnel, and a 16 metre cross adit, without lodging a Mining Plan of Operations to the Environmental Protection Agency for preliminary approval, then a formal Mining Development Plan to the local statutory authority, resoluton of the development issue questionaire, resolution of native title issues including an extended right to ‘mine’ in the rescue area, the need for an Environmental Impact Statement (where is the waste from this rescue hole going ????) and a whole host of other environmentally relevant questions.

      The lives of two persons is NOT considered an appropriate trade-off for the environmental standards that have taken almost a century to promulgate.

      Gaia is being raped anew in an effort to save these humans, in flagrant disregard of the environmental safeguards of the last century that we hold so dear.

      Posted by Kaboom on 2006 05 06 at 05:57 AM • permalink


    1. Harry M Miller just cancelled the contract. Gave it to a pink baby Brontosauris with Parkinson’s Disease instead.

      Posted by geoff on 2006 05 06 at 06:08 AM • permalink


    1. #18 et al, I wasn’t going to watch Denton this week – Cold Case is more fun – but after Leunig’s bleating, I’m going to have to.

      I would suggest that he couldn’t possibly take himself seriously, but after corresponding with him briefly earlier this year, I’m afraid that he does.

      Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2006 05 06 at 06:10 AM • permalink


    1. Could someone organise a trapdoor to open under Shorten at the earliest opportunity?
      Look what happened after Combet filled the screen for the duration of the Survival: Dogs, Droogs, ‘n Containers series. Can’t get rid of them after that sort of exposure.

      Posted by blogstrop on 2006 05 06 at 06:51 AM • permalink


    1. Re the last 1/2 metre – article in one paper today said they’d be using an adapted diamond chain saw and chemicals.  The trapped miners have been grouting rocks to stabilise them.

      What are these chemicals? They’ve be mentioned a few times.

      Posted by walterplinge on 2006 05 06 at 07:11 AM • permalink


    1. Michael luenig on Enough rope next monday wow!
      A must blog it!

      Posted by davo on 2006 05 06 at 07:25 AM • permalink


    1. #42 walterplinge

      The ‘adapted diamond chain saw’ is better thought of a normal rock saw, but made portable.  Circular rotating steel blade, with (industrial) diamonds impregnated on the edge.  Diamonds = hardest known substance, so will cut rock.  Slowly, but it cuts it.  They use them underground for cutting channels across the rock faces to take samples to analyse.

      The ‘chemicals’ I’ve never seen used but I’m pretty sure they are swelling compounds (like industrial strength space-filler).  They drill (say) 3-5 2 inch holes fairly close together, then inject this stuff, which swells and cracks the rock between the holes & forces it outwards, making a bigger hole.  Sort of like a compound jemmy.

      Posted by Stop Continental Drift! on 2006 05 06 at 08:04 AM • permalink


    1. #44 SCD, you could probably achieve the same effect using Bobby Fisk’s ego.

      Posted by Texas Bob on 2006 05 06 at 08:36 AM • permalink


    1. # 45


      Posted by Stop Continental Drift! on 2006 05 06 at 09:03 AM • permalink


    1. Sheesh. Looks like Evil Demi-lord Tim’s Paddington pissup turned into another bloody bender. What a surprise. We minions never got an invite, of course. Just ‘make sure Wronwright supplies Mesopotamian Mead and you maske sure we have those nice Viking horn-cups, the ones you cannot put down when they have anything in them’.

      Now there is no sign of the little sod. Or his hairy mates. Half the nubile young things in Sydney are wearing dreamy smiles and some bastard drank the local brewery dry. Again.

      OK, OK, I’ll get the minions checking all the gutters south of the harbour. AGAIN. Last time it took days to get the … erm, stains, yeah, stains, out of the upholstery of his Miata. At least the minionettes were happy with the 46 sets of female undergarments they found in that damned car. Dunno how he manages it, must be double jointed.


      Posted by MarkL on 2006 05 06 at 09:05 AM • permalink


    1. I just have to quote the most hilarious global-warming headline I’ve seen all week.  This is actually the teaser for a story on the front page of Salon this morning, but it reads like a parody by Bruce McCall (“Ten men died to make the ingots perfect!”):

      Twilight of an ancient knowledge

      For centuries, New Zealand’s Maoris have used intimate observation of nature to harvest eels and predict the weather. That marvelous legacy is endangered by climate change
      By Durrell Dawson

      I’m sure that’s very serious and a darn shame, but… giggle…

      Posted by Mike G on 2006 05 06 at 09:18 AM • permalink


    1. “I pity the rock that stands between them and the rescuers” – Bill Shorten. That just about made my evening.

      Posted by erin_j on 2006 05 06 at 09:19 AM • permalink


    1. #47 MarkL

      Minions were invited, three threads back.

      It’s just that some of us would have had to drive faster than others to get there.

      Posted by m on 2006 05 06 at 10:46 AM • permalink


    1. #18–I had no idea Oz’ papers had such progressive ideas about letting the mentally-challenged work for them.

      #49.  You were kidding, right?  This Shorten, he think’s he’s Mr. T?

      Posted by ushie on 2006 05 06 at 12:01 PM • permalink


    1. #18 I checked out the article written by Leunig about his yet-to-be-aired interview with Andrew Denton. He gives no details, just lots of emotional imagery about being metaphorically hanged. It sounds like he got a thrashing.

      Posted by daddy dave on 2006 05 06 at 12:35 PM • permalink


    1. Before the days of machine-operated mining, water was used to split granite boulders and sheet-rock. Granites hardness factor is only rivalled by diamonds.

      During winter, a natural fissure through the rock would be blocked at both ends and filled with water. Overnight the water would freeze solid and create a small crack to open up the fissure.

      This process would be repeated over numerous nights until the crack developed enough for the entire rock to split apart. Simple but effective.

      Posted by JAFA on 2006 05 06 at 02:57 PM • permalink


    1. As I write at 7:50 am, Sunday, Shorten is giving a press conference on TV 9.
      How come he is being treated as the authoritative spokesman for the rescue efforts?
      In answer to the journalists’ questions, he is prefacing nearly every sentence with “As I understand…I think…Probably…It would not seem likely…As far as I can gather off the rank and file…I believe…”
      Now three Ch 9 journalists are translating Shorten’s conjecture into facts for us.

      Posted by Skeeter on 2006 05 06 at 06:01 PM • permalink


    1. #44

      I have been to an open-cut marble mine at Wombeyan Caves and one at Chillagoe NQ. Dad marble into blocks holes were drilled in a row and then tightly fitted dry wood dowels were placed in the holes. The dowels were then wet so they would expand and crack the marble off the main rockface in a big chunk. See Hydrostatic Pressure. Where the climate was very cold, water was used in the drilled holes. The water would freeze and expand, the chunk of marble would crack off the rockface.

      Posted by kae on 2006 05 06 at 06:40 PM • permalink


    1. Dad marble?

      Wot? It should read

      “Dad told me that to cut the marble…”


      Posted by kae on 2006 05 06 at 06:45 PM • permalink


    1. just quietly, while no-one’s overhearing.  What does PIMF and MSM (as in lefty media)stand for?

      Posted by Stop Continental Drift! on 2006 05 07 at 12:44 AM • permalink


    1. #57

      PIMF = preview is my friend (muttered after the writer of a post notices, post-posting, an egregious error in the post)

      MSM = mainstream media (= Dan Rather et al.)

      Posted by m on 2006 05 07 at 08:19 AM • permalink


    1. All this yakker about “hardest rock ever”.
      I have seldom heard so much BS.
      The mine geo tech info must give them a range of properties for strata to be expected in this location.

      Posted by Warwick Hughes on 2006 05 07 at 04:38 PM • permalink


    1. Jessica Rowe did a really good presentation of the logi boo boo bear awards last night.

      I want to win a Kerry anne sample bag please lol..

      Posted by 1.618 on 2006 05 07 at 08:15 PM • permalink


    1. This is what happens when you are a journalist.


      [He hacks off her head and drops it to the ground, then picks it up again and perches it on her bare chest.] wonder where.

      It’s like Mr Kyser Trod aka trad, scratch and sniff australian womens bikinis except his wifes and replies (from islamic australian baffoon friendship asoc) that if you say nothing bad about Islam will will not harm and kill you m Cardonay pell….. What a fuck wit mr trad is.

      Posted by 1.618 on 2006 05 07 at 08:20 PM • permalink


    1. Thanks m.

      Yes Warwick Hughes.  The characteristic of the mine rock has been examined and drilled for 925 metres from surface to that point.  Its very unlikely to change in the next few metres.

      What has changed is their method of breaking it.  I’m positive the geotechs would know very precisely what rock they would be encountering, but they wouldn’t be able to predict how it may be broken with technicques that (necessarily) go back to the 1800s.

      Posted by Stop Continental Drift! on 2006 05 08 at 07:05 AM • permalink


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