The Dirt - Digging Deep

posted on Thursday, January 23, 2020 in The Dirt

picIt's early morning, and despite the sun making its presence known, the humidity hanging in the summer air shows no sign of dissolving with the fog. As trucks roar to life and hit the quarry roads, a fine dust complements the haze, creating an otherworldly scene amongst the rock and rubble. While the sight may be foreign to the average Joe, this is every day to many a miner — and only scratches the surface at Linwood Mining & Minerals Corp. in Davenport, Iowa.

While the company covers a tidy 0.25-square-mile space above ground, its underground operations unfold into a sprawling checkerboard of rooms and pillars entailing a surprising 2.5-square-mile area. Cool, pitch black, and eerily still, it stands in stark contrast to the action outside.

Without the proper safety briefings and understanding of signage, even the most experienced miners are likely to lose their way in the cavernous moonscape of a maze. If the lack of light, tight quarters, and limited airflow aren’t enough, the daily blasts make safety Linwood’s top concern in this man-made cave.