Towns near the opal fields rise and fall.
Although Coober Pedy is the opal capital, and largest mining area, there are
many other smaller mining areas in South Australia. Mintabie (like "meant t' be")
is next largest
opal town, and at one time was more productive than Coober Pedy.
When I was there
4 years ago, it was a busy little settlement, but of late,
it has become almost a ghost town with only 6 crews working there.
Here's a view of one of the best homes in Mintabie.
It's a sad statement about the plight of the opal miners, that this home
is unoccupied, and the machines are long unused. This is the reality of the
opal mining business. It takes big money, big risks, and the ability
to withstand big losses.
Including the businesses that serve the miners. The Mintabie bar is one
of those that is suffering the loss of customers. But it will probably see
it's hay-days again.
Site of some very interesting stories....
As you can tell from the warm clothing, it was cold and rainy this day
and we couldn't do any mining. So we took the opportunity to drive north
from Coober Pedy to Mintabie. Seeing Mintabie so empty, we were prompted
to drive out to the field that is causing most of the exodus from Mintabie...
Remember, we're already 480Km north of Coober Pedy. Mintabie is 45Km west
of the Stuart Hiway, and we gotta drive back to the Stuart, and then 70Km east
to Lambina. There are 4 guys in the WRX, and it's dirt roads (and lots of rocks)
all the way.
Before leaving Mintabie, I took a shot of one of the mines and hoped that this
field would attract the hoards again.
A noodling machine
Previous Page: "Opal Fever"
Next Page: "The Opal Rush"
Rough Opal |
Cut Opal |
Opal Gallery |
Trading Info |
Copyright 2007, Australian Opal Mines. All rights reserved.
Last modified: July 8, 2007