June 30, 2013

TheTwo Hour Rule in the Mining Life

International airports are generally located in major metropolitan meaning there are quite odd things to a miner like culture, art, girls and things to do.  Anyone who expects to work in the mining industry should generally accept the fact that they will be approximately two hours travel time to an International Airport and the aforementioned things. 

While living in Arizona, Phoenix’s Sky Harbor was exactly #115 miles away.  In fact, all but one of the company’s mines in Arizona was 2 or more hours by car to Phoenix or Tucson.  

Where I live now in the peel district of Australia, it’s straightforward 130 km or 1 hour 45 minute drive to Perth International.

Most miners in based out of Perth fly up north to work the Iron Ore mines in the Pilbara which is a two hour flight from Perth. 

If you happen to live and work in Western Australia's Goldfields near the mining town of Kalgoorlie (don’t pronounce the ‘r’ or just say Kal but whatever you do don’t say Calgary), it’s a bit shy of two hours by plane to Perth.  AND it will cost you 600 dollars.  The ongoing joke here is that it is cheaper to fly to Bali to spend your R&R than it is just keep a place in Perth.  The cost of living in Indonesia is one tenth of what it is in Perth.  And flights are regularly cheaper to Bali than Sydney or Melbourne. 

The Red Dog mine nested quietly away 130 miles north of the Arctic Circle, is a spectacularly beautiful two hour flight of the Alaska tundra to Anchorage.  A few native people lived and commuted daily to the minesite from Kotzebue, a city (small outpost) on the shores of the Bering Straight far closer to Russia than any other city in Alaska.   

The Climax mine in Leadville is two hours’ drive to Denver over the pass and onto I-70, the skier highway. 

Yes I know 2 hours is a very vague rule of thumb and I am only basing this on a handful of mines.  The moral of the story is that the mining life is:
  1. Remote
  2.  Lonely 
  3. All about sitting in a car or plane for 2 hours in the car every rotation so you can keep your sanity see girls, see people dressed in something other than Hi Vis, and spend your money.  And then listening to tediously long audio books so you can keep your sanity while driving or flying.


Western states 100 mile run finished.  Congrats to Timmy Olson on the Win and really proud to See Rob Krar run strong for second place.  I am impressed with Olson winning again under some pressure and in a fast time.  Following this race on irunfar got me excited to get back to running.  Hopefully, my body allows me to train properly.  Or at least head there to watch and hang out if I when I live in the USA again.

Photo: Driving towards Monument Valley

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