I have worked as an operator in gold and coal mines for over a decade now. Sometimes carting dirt and rock (overburden) sometimes coal or gold/copper (the money makers.) I am a miner, but am I a Real Miner?
The Miner definition describes a miner as anyone who works in a mine. There is no definition for a “Real Miner.”
My partner is a “Real Miner.” Just ask him, he will tell you! I thought we were all real miners, what is the difference? You work in a mine, you’re a real miner, right?
Then I met my partner, an underground miner. He started calling me a gravel scratcher.
“You Gravellies are all the same”
This was a new term to me, but quite well known, apparently, like when I first heard the endearing term of boneheads. Even if I spend all day grading, on the loader, or driving a truck in the black stuff, I still am only a gravel scratcher, not a real miner, in his opinion.
As our time together increases I learn more of this strange new world of underground mining. He never used to say much except “i8work!” Personally I have rarely hated work, choosing instead to have bad days here and there, but I’m a little bit mad!
The first time he came to visit me on his pyjama day I got him some crib from my mess. I usually don’t eat much, so didn’t feel guilty taking extra pies and sandwiches for him to toast on his night shift.
This was my first eye opener of working underground. He thanked me for my effort, but let it slip about eating cold pies for crib. I told him not to be silly, just put them in the pie warmer when you get to work and they will be hot by first crib. Geez it’s not rocket science! The sandwiches will be yummy in the toasted sandwich maker with a cuppa too. See how I look after you?
That was when I first heard him say we are REAL MINERS! We don’t have all that.
“What not even a kettle?” NO! “Why Not? They should let you, that’s so mean!”
Turns out it is because of the “boom” factor. Not the mining boom/bust and they can’t afford new appliances, but nothing that might create a spark. Makes sense really, but gee no kettle even? Now that is real mining.
Turns out they have a few tricks up their sleeve, such as putting things on the transformer to warm them up. (Whatever that is?)
They are in the black stuff all the time, and most need to have a shower before leaving work, because they are real miners and get dirty. Even after a shower many look cool and mysterious with their eye liner on!
I must admit I have worn my work jeans a couple of days in a row because they are still fresh and clean, but don’t tell him that!
Head to Real Miners cont… where I delve deeper into this issue. Like do the differences between temps, contractors, old timers, clean skins or traineeships make you any more of a “real miner?”
Is it more than just open cut vs underground?
In my view we are all real miners, working long hours away from family and friends, in dangerous conditions with uncertain times ahead.
What is your view? Are you a real miner, or like me, according to my partner, just do preparation work for the Real Miners to come in? I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this. Please like me on Facebook for all the good, bad and the ugly comments.
Mad Mumzie x