Down in the Mine
“Once the pegmatite layer is reached, usually at a depth of 10-20m, mining can begin. Sometimes, horizontal tunnels are also dug outwards from the vertical shaft, in four directions, so that the maximum area of pegmatite can be exposed. Each horizontal donawa is 10m long and 2.5m square, and a miner must crawl into it to work by oil lamp or electric lights, in claustrophobic conditions, at temperatures often around 35˚C.”
A miner descends into a moonstone mine in Meetiyagoda. This little Sri Lankan village is the world’s largest supplier of rare blue moonstones. Shot on assignment for Explore Sri Lanka. My story, The Moonstones of Meetiyagoda, runs in the February 2017 issue now on sale.