Opal Mining Camp


Opal mining in Queensland Australia is expensive and done by Bulldozers and Excavators.

While opal mines in Lightning ridge ,Cooper Pedy and Koroit are mostly tunnel and bucket affairs

To mine in Queensland is lot more capital intensive with large Bulldozers and mining equipment and many camps resemble small outposts of huts n equipment.

Spotters walk behind the bull dozzer looking for flashes colour as the rippers open up the virgin dirt for the first time so spotters do need keen eyes to see opal veins or colour in this ironstone

Opal mining process

Opal miner applies for lease for exploration of a set area

Pick out an area that lookslike opal dirt that will hopefullybe opal bearing.

The opal miner will dig trenches with backhoe

roughly 10 meter long by 6 meters deep

they will make several cuts than go down and speck the wall for signs of opal colour.

Once an area has been picked up as potential opal bearing dirt, the miner will bring in an excavator for a deep hole or bulldozer in area not deep.

The bulldozer will push off the dirt till he gets to opal bearing dirt

than using his ripper he will open up the virgin dirt and spotters walking behind will spot opal colour in the ironstone.

It is now very costly to operate a opal mine ion Queensland opal fields as petrol is extremely expensive and some mines will go thru $2000 day just with bulldozer and excavator.

Everyone is searching for the mother load of beautiful gem opals.

Many opal mines in Queensland opal fields have massive amount of top earth to clear way before they reach opal bearing deposits.

Many mountain tops have been levelled in search of this beautiful boulder opal.

Today the Mines Department controls the leases for opal exploration

It can be very costly now to take out leases as bonds are required and

opal site has to be left back to its original condition which involves replacing tonnes top earth and re vegetation.

If you have the opal bug do go opal mining !

Opal mining leases for sale- Boulder opal leases are hard to find advertised as most miners know each other and if there is a good claim the miners and owner will do joint venture agreement to split proceeds for the mine.

Some established mines have changed hands several times.

Professional miners set time period or budget to spend working a site on the opal fields.

In many cases a team will quit the camp and move on and the next crew will find volume quality rough in first week you can imagine how depressing that is for the past team who could have worked for months with no opals and no income.

Opal mining facts

When a person gets the opal bug and wants to go opal mining they normally ask for facts and figures

but there are no facts for opal mining methods. Some old timers can read the opal bearing areas by the type of trees that grow or can follow seams that lead to opal bearing seams or faults, everyone has set theory and set work method.

We have seen claims next door to each other

One worked by alcoholic 2-4 hours a days and claim next door is worked by team hard workers but the hard workers never strike any good opal but the lazy guy finds heaps ..and this claim was only 20 meters apart. This makes it very hard on the mind and sanity of opal miners, to be so close to good opal but you cant find any typical saying, maybe tomorrow so miners get up and start all over again

Opal mining equipment for sale

Some opal miners will leave old equipment on site a s transpiration costs are extremely expensive in the outback, costing up to 10 times normal transport cost.

Old mining equipment including excavators or old bulldozers are stored under cover in some opal camps.

Obviously new expensive equipment is taken out of the camp after the area has been worked out

Was this article helpful?

Search the Opal Encyclopedia

A-Z Of Opals

A-Z Of Opals

A complete list of your favourite Opal from all over the world
31 articles
Did you know?

Did you know?

Check out our fascinating information and articles on all things amazing in the Opal world
43 articles
How To's

How To's

All of your favourite Opal How To's
20 articles


What's trending in the Opal Industry
41 articles
Opal Auctions  Verified Sellers

Opal Auctions Verified Sellers

Opal Auctions sellers who are approved as opal Verified Sellers
4 articles
Opal Information

Opal Information

Information about Opal and its colorful history
103 articles
Opal Stories

Opal Stories

Feel like reading a yarn or two?
6 articles
Technical Opal Information

Technical Opal Information

All there is to know about Opals including Black Opals, Ethiopian Opals & Boulder Opal
15 articles


Feedback from our VIP customers
5 articles