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How Hard is it to Find Good Opal?

Discovering valuable opal requires immense physical effort, often overlooked by those in desk jobs. Most miners find only low-grade opal, debunking the misconception of miner wealth. It demands self-education, experience, and financial discipline to succeed in this challenging industry.

where is opal found

Misconceptions and Realities of Opal Miner Wealth

Miners work very long days and sometimes even into the nights when they are onto a good trace of opal in their mine; they do not want to stop. This is because sometimes miners can go long without finding any good opal. Nothing is guaranteed in this game; you must follow the opal when you find it and ensure you get it all! We have heard stories over the years working in this industry. want to share a few:

A boulder opal miner in Winton dug for three years to find something of substantial value. It put him $300,000 in debt. There are huge costs involved in running the machinery in boulder opal mines. Running and maintaining the excavator is the main expense. This man was about to give up and move claims when he hit Gem Boulder Opal’s jackpot pocket. He made $3 Million from it. The find made him vomit from the overwhelming emotions that hit him.

A group of miners spent nine months digging underground in Lightning Ridge. They found nothing of substantial value. They were camping on-site and had a portable toilet setup. The toilet spot was full, so they needed to make a new one. They dug a hole for the new toilet and struck a gem of substantial value, black opal. One of the opals from this trace was valued at $150,000 alone.

Tales of Triumph and Despair: Opal Mining Stories

When you hit good opal traces, you need to follow them for a few reasons. The main one is to find something of value. There are other reasons, however. If you find opal traces and leave the mine, go away for a few weeks back to town or take a holiday. It may not be there when you get back. Some people break into mining claims, use your machinery, and dig out your opals when you are not there. Miners must secure their mines, set up cameras, and check on their mining sites regularly when unattended. There have been instances where miners have found people in their mines and buried them alive. People have been shot and killed for trespass on opal claims. It is not an uncommon story in outback opal towns. Read more here about how opals are mined in Australia.

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