This note was prompted by the fact that time flies when you're having fun. On Thursday last week, the day was progressing as normal. After our normal 7am start in around -8 degrees (fun with water and machinery to start), we just sat down in luxury on our 5 gallon buckets for our 15 minute cup of tea when sudden silence fell over the plant site – no power. Now this kind of thing is not uncommon. We are lucky enough to be connected to the mains power, but we do have our share of brownouts and loss of power from time to time. This is a real pain as sapphire is often lost over the jigs when this happens plus there is a big load when starting our gear up again when the trommel has a couple of tonne of wash in it. Following a normal restart, it's off to work we go. I was digging in a rocky bit of wash (unusual for our flat) and didnt notice my offsider Phil arrive down at the cut with that telltale sad look on his face that told me all was not right at the plant. Shortly after I had left the main pump stopped again and when Phil investigated he could smell the smoke a hundred yards from the pump shed – that awful burnt wire smell that means you're up for lots of dollars.
Anyway, that's a long way around to explaining the title of this post. As I mumbled to myself some unrepeatable words while removing the cover of the 40hp electric motor, I made a comment to Phil that "we didnt get much of a run out of that motor". Phil then quietly pointed down to the date scratched into the top of the cover and it all came back to me. Ten years isn't so long I guess but not such a bad run for the motor after all. I remember it was only a couple of months after we took over the entire operation of the mine that I scratched that date into the rebuilt electric motor. It hurt paying for it then and it did again this time. But I cant deny that it has been an interesting 10 years – we certainly didnt think then that we would be sending our sapphires all over the world from our website – in fact we had only just discovered the internet about then.
But really, my interest in sapphires goes a lot further back than just 10 years. If you have kept reading up to this point, you might be interested to read a bit more about the history of Lonewood Mine in the next post – will write a bit about this in the next couple of days.
Just installed the new electric motor today – yes, it did cost lots of dollars but we are up and running again.
cheers for now from Andrew