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Notes from the (1km) Underground

I had the opportunity to visit an underground mine yesterday. At the deepest point we visited we were 1km below the surface of the earth. It was mind-blowing - I tried to capture some thoughts/notes.

    1. It gets dark, you need to let your eyes get used to it.

    2. Suddenly the safety orientation material seems a lot more relevant and interesting

    3. This mine produces gold, as well as copper and palladium

    These metals we encounter everyday, but the reality of how we retrieve them is a mystery to most of us.

    4. The travel, the safety orientation and associated dangers had me stressed out, but I'm so grateful I got the opportunity and it reminds me my career has provided me with many interesting experiences.

    5. It gets hot and humid down there

    Bad enough that under the worst conditions (if they can work at all) they have to spend 30 minutes of every hour on cooling breaks.

    6. I'm glad that Neal Stephenson included diagrams and detailed descriptions of the underground complex in Cryptonomicon.

    It helped me understand the necessary structures of the mine.

    7. Mining has its own lingo.

    Tailings, Drifts, etc.

    8. Autonomous vehicles have to introduce minor errors in their driving otherwise they retrace their routes so accurately they wear ruts into the roads.

    9. Everything extracted from the mine (some is ore, some is waste) comes up on the same conveyor belt)

    10. The elevator is only for emergencies. Driving down 1km vertically on a 15-17% grade takes about an hour.

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