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Potash Workers

Not the “Boys from the Blackstuff”, but the boys from the potash mine. This photograph was taken outside the surface workshops.

From left to right: Bob Beadnell, Jack Wren, Wilf Mackinder, Gordon Fletcher, Albert Breckon, Jimmy Warral, John Richardson, Les Atkinson, Mel Picket, Raymond Pearson, Frank Smith, Ray Broom, John James, Colin Philipson, Alan Cox, Terry Robinson, Jeff Verrill, Dennis Bulman, and last but not least Colin Readman.

Image and names courtesy of Brian Jemson.

Old Control Room Fire.

It doesn’t always go smoothly underground – I can imagine this caused considerable hazard underground, loads of toxic fumes, smoke and, worst of all, a lack of oxygen. Ian Benson recalls: “Remember having to go to site of fire with another miner to collect all the discharged fire extinguishers that the rescue team had used to put fire out and take to man shaft pit bottom to be sent out of mine for refilling. They must have used practically all the extinguishers down the mine. The fire I recall was around 1976. The photograph is just as I remember the scene”.

Image courtesy of Alan M Franks and thanks to Ian Benson for that update.

Pillar Crush

An example of the immense working pressures involved in potash mining and the instability of the crystal structures involved. Originally our Editor thought this pillar was part of the old Bord and Pillar workings, however Tim Coleman advised the Archive: “This pillar was located in the far south of the mine in a panel mined late 2001 and completed early 2002. The photograph has been clipped on the right hand side where my colleagues were standing”.

Image courtesy of Alan M. Franks and information kindly supplied by Tim Coleman. He actually took this image when he was the Rock Mechanics Engineer at Boulby.

Did you say Straight On?

An accident at Boulby Potash, the vehicle has gone from one level to another the short way! Terry Robinson tells us: ”Looks like an Eimco 915 LHD (load haul dump) machine.” Ian Benson tells us: ”I can remember coming on the next shift from this accident happening. This Eimco was dropping potash ore down the recently mined hole for a rock crusher to be installed in the North Conveyor Road another Eimco was loading the ore at bottom and taking it to the north side stamler which feed it onto the north conveyor. I think the driver suffered minor injuries and recall that amazingly the Eimco only had minor damage and was soon back in service. This photograph dates from around 1976.”

Image courtesy of Alan Franks and thanks to Terry Robinson and Ian Benson for the updates.

Roof Fall Caused by Carnalite at Boulby

Just to show that even modern mining isn’t without its hazards, here’s an image of a roof fall caused by the somewhat unstable (in air) compound Carnalite. A web definition: Carnalite (KMgCl3·6H2O, hydrous magnesium and potassium chloride). Carnalite crystallizes in a rhombic system and has a hardness of 2.5, the same as the finger nail. It usually displays a granular structure. Carnalite can be colourless, pinkish or reddish, always with a vitreous gloss. Carnalite is deliquescent, it dissolves even in the air humidity. Its taste is salty, spicy after the potassium and bitter after the magnesium content. Ian Benson tells us: ”Cleveland Potash did look at the possibility  of mining Carnalite but decided it would prove to difficult and hazardous.” The image is an obvious example of this problem.
Image courtesy of Alan M. Franks and thanks to Ian Benson for the update.

Honey, I Broke the Bulldozer!

Sometimes it just isn’t your day! Running repairs on a big Cat!

Image courtesy of Alan M. Franks.

Potash Train 1

Here’s a few railway pictures to keep the trainspotters happy an EWS (English Welsh & Scottish – railway freight company) Class 56 no. 56032 standing at Boulby.
Image courtesy of Alan M. Franks.

Potash Train 2

I think this is the same train looking towards the dispersal sidings at the filling bay.
Image courtesy of Alan M. Franks.

Potash Train 3

Class 56 no. 56055 outbound from Boulby with a train of Potash Hoppers. As Russ says, it’s in the LoadHaul livery!  Didn’t know they were all American owned now though – is nothing British anymore!
Image courtesy of Alan M. Franks.

Potash Train 4

EWS Class 56 no. 56032 looking rather clean in this classic shot at Boulby Potash Mine.
Image courtesy of Alan M. Franks.