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BLOWERS

 

 

 

There are in excess of 200 blowers in Lightning Ridge.   Although there may have been some blowers prior to the first commercially built in Lightning Ridge which was built by Knud Nexo in December 1973 ,who has since built more than 100 blowers

 

It was not until the big finds on the four mile in 1976 that blowers effectively started to replace the automatic self tipping hoist due to the ease and speed that the opal bearing dirt could be removed from the mine for possessing.

 

The Blower is basically a large fan which is driven by a large diesel motor typically around 160hp which is mounted on a truck chassis which sucks the loosened opal dirt and air in a 250mm pipe at depths of up to 30 metres and 30 to 40 metre of tunnelling (drives) up to the hopper (cyclone) were the opal bearing dirt and air is separated in a centrifugal action where the air is exhausted though the fan and the opal dirt is automatically emptied in to a waiting truck for removal for further processing

Pictures

Shovelling Opal dirt in to blower pipe
Blower working in mid 1974
Blower and tip truck, Coocoran opal fields, Lightning Ridge, 2001.
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Last Update Pre 2006