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Thread: Just another day in a 17th century silver mine...

  1. #11
    RBW Member Lancer4545 is a splendid one to behold Lancer4545 is a splendid one to behold Lancer4545 is a splendid one to behold Lancer4545 is a splendid one to behold Lancer4545 is a splendid one to behold Lancer4545 is a splendid one to behold Lancer4545 is a splendid one to behold Lancer4545 is a splendid one to behold Lancer4545 is a splendid one to behold Lancer4545 is a splendid one to behold Lancer4545 is a splendid one to behold Lancer4545's Avatar
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    Re: Just another day in a 17th century silver mine...

    It never ceases to amaze me the incredible water clairty in old abaononed mines. Very impressive.......

    Regards,

    Lance

  2. #12
    Silver Mine Junkie Dragan is on a distinguished road Dragan is on a distinguished road Dragan's Avatar
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    Re: Just another day in a 17th century silver mine...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mixaddict  View Original Post
    Hejsan Jonas!

    Very cool pictures! The visibility looks incredible in that mine. Was it very difficult to obtain permission from the mining company to dive there? I ask, because we have several abandoned silver mines in Northern Utah that might be interesting to dive in. Any concerns about contaminants in the water?

    Thanks for sharing!

    Regards,
    Randy
    Ahhhh, Utah. The land of swedish speaking relatives driven away by harsh conditions during 19th century *smile*

    Viz is incredible down to 35ish meters, then followed by almost zeroviz for 3-5 meters. After that the water changes "consistency" again, this time being like really dark tea. Clear without silt, but eating away light. We have some pictures where a 200W HMI looks like a dinner candle and the distance between camera an HMI is something like less than 10 meters. Couldn't find the pictures at the moment, but I guess you could imagine :)

    The trick to getting permission to dive the site was loads of luck I guess. Maybe combined with a skill of being able to sell sand to Saudi Arabia, but mainly because I managed to talk to the right person at the right time.

    I actually came up with the same idea as the president of the company responsible for tourist trips in the dry sections of the mine:
    Why not increase potential customers by opening the mine for diving? I had a bunch of fellow divers but no shiny silver mine, she had the opposite problem. So far, cave diving tourism has been put on hold for different reasons but we still have access to the site as much as we like and continue the exploration.

    For the past years, the mining company directs all questions about diving to us and aparantly they are happy with our presence. We really try our best to make our presence in the mine valuable for the them as well. Just by being there when tourists visit the mine makes a lasting impression. Most people think it's pretty wild just to visit the dry areas 155m below the surface for an hour or so, and then they find us. Getting ready to go into the water, for three hours :)

    Also, the guides really like to hear us tell stories about the water filled areas which they probably never will be able to visit.

    From what we've been told by the mining company there is no real danger of contamination in the water, the water level is actually kept on 155m by pumps disposing the water without taking any specific actions (if I haven't misunderstood anything). You probably shouldn't drink it on a daily basis given the high content of mercury in the excavated silver, but it's not like you get sick from getting an occasional sip.

    There's more info about the dive site (which actually is a pretty big tourism attraction) on
    Spännande och annorlunda upplevelser för dig som gillar äventyr - startsida - Sala Silvergruva

    English diving section (including an early video teaser for cave diving tourism) can be found on
    Cavediving - Activities - Engelska - Sala Silvergruva

    Regards

    /Jonas
    Last edited by Dragan; 28th March 2010 at 00:13.

  3. #13
    Petri Keskitalo P3 is a jewel in the rough P3 is a jewel in the rough P3 is a jewel in the rough P3 is a jewel in the rough P3 is a jewel in the rough P3 is a jewel in the rough P3 is a jewel in the rough P3 is a jewel in the rough P3's Avatar
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    Re: Just another day in a 17th century silver mine...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragan  View Original Post
    So far, cave diving tourism has been put on hold for different reasons but we still have access to the site as much as we like and continue the exploration.
    /Jonas
    So is that the reason?
    Or do you have plans to open it up for outsiders? Don't have my cave yet but access to this place would be a good incentive :)

  4. #14
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    Re: Just another day in a 17th century silver mine...

    Great place for diving, great pics and good information about "how to stay warm". Thanks for sharing.
    Save diving Ossi

  5. #15
    Silver Mine Junkie Dragan is on a distinguished road Dragan is on a distinguished road Dragan's Avatar
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    Re: Just another day in a 17th century silver mine...

    Quote Originally Posted by P3  View Original Post
    So is that the reason?
    Or do you have plans to open it up for outsiders? Don't have my cave yet but access to this place would be a good incentive :)
    We really would like to open the place, but our main concern is how to do that without
    a) risking the access to the site. One incident and it's gone...
    b) risking the conservation state of the mine which actually is an archeological site. You just have to look at the state of the first 3-500 meters in any highly visited cave to understand our concern...

    Both these facts end up with the decision to use at least one guide for each visiting team.

    There are already a number of "extreme" tourism activities in the mine which pricewise don't really fit in with the norm for scuba tourism pricing. One example is climbing 17th century ladders for 3 hours and the price tag is about the same as two days on a technical dive boat. Our idea for a cave diving guest package would include at least two days, imagine the price tag if the same price model would be used.

    On one hand, pricing need to fit with the general price model for guided tours. On the other hand, in order to get the "right" visitors it would also have to fit a price range comparable to a liveaboard. The term "right visitors" means people we wouldn't mind diving with since we could expect the entire team to resurface afterwards. This fact actually forms the third main fact that need to be handled before a public opening can be achieved:

    c) safety of the guides need to be taken care of

    At this point, all potential cave diving guides are working with both exploration and beta-tests of guiding activities on a non-profit base. That would all have to change if this was to be turned into a commercial diving business. Being paired together with basically anyone in a cave is far more problematic than guiding people on a shallow reef, regardless of if you get paid or not. When I teach cave diving I at least have the possibility to spend days practicing and making sure that the students are far beyond the minimum prerequisites for entering the overhead environment. When guiding you always introduce the risk to go too far while doing your very best to please the customer. If the guest would be here for a week or so, this would not be a problem but given the limited amount of time we find it a hard nut to crack.

    Doing the dives safely would mean at least 3 staff for a 3 people team, one in the water and minimum two for surface support. If you also include the fact that the mining company would like a decent kickback in order to cover insurances etc. we have realized that the only visitors we would get would be rich tourists, probably the exact opposite of the divers we would really like to be able to invite. Most of the people we know would probably opt to not visit the mine under these circumstances.

    Hopefully, there will be some sort of agreement in the future where we have the possibility to bring guests on a pro-bono-basis. At this point, the only outside visitors are potential project members being checked out or temporarily assisting with something. That's the only thing that we can motivate towards the mining company gven the fact that they would like to make the place commercially available.

    The place is really worth a visit, but I'll have to get back on that though. Just don't expect anything in the near future...

    /Jonas

  6. #16
    RBW Member JDostal will become famous soon enough JDostal will become famous soon enough JDostal will become famous soon enough JDostal will become famous soon enough JDostal's Avatar
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    Re: Just another day in a 17th century silver mine...

    Looks awesome, amazing viz. We dive a few mines up here too, would love to get into something that old.

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