OCT • 2021
Getting to know Gary Hughes
Longhole Operator at Carrapateena
Q: How long have you worked for Byrnecut?
Gary: I transitioned across to Byrnecut when they took over the Carrapateena contract in March 2021. This is the first time working with Byrnecut in my mining career and so far I have enjoyed it.
Q: How long have you been in the mining industry?
Gary: 25 years working mainly in underground mines in Queensland.
Q: You have an interesting part time profession, can you tell us about it and how you go into it?
Gary: I mine opals in Lightning Ridge. I got into when I was 18. I visited a friend who was opal mining in Lightning Ridge and fell in love with it. I’ve been doing it for over 30 years now.
Q: I don’t know a lot about opal mining. What are the main differences between mining at Carrapateena and your opal mine?
Gary: Mainly the scale of things. At Carrapateena we are trying to move 17,000 tonnes of material per day. Opal mining, with my jack hammer and self-loading bogger I move somewhere between 8-16 tonnes.
Q. Do you know any of the miners from the TV show Outback Opal Hunters?
Gary: Lightning Ridge is a small place, so I do know a couple of them.
Q: Can you show us any of your mined opals?
Gary: Sure. Here is one I recently mined out. You can see it is bigger the size of a 20 cent piece. I was very happy with that find.