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Mindat Conference 2011 - Field Trips

Last Updated: 21st Jul 2011

By Jolyon & Katya Ralph

Mindat Conference 2011 - The Field Trips

Photos for this report were provided by Ida Chau, Miranda Yu, Slawomir Szlinke, Reiner Bode, Roger Lang as well as myself - Thank you all! As there are so many photos I will keep the descriptions short and let the photos do the talking. Part 2 (The conference and workshops) will come in the next 2 days! Lots more photos need to be sorted through.

The Conference 2011

The first three days of the Mindat Conference were field trips, with attendees divided up into different groups to attend different trips on different days.

On Monday, three small groups (no more than 10 in each) went to three massive underground copper mines in and around the Lubin area. The trips started early - the coach left at 3.30am from Lwowek Slaski.

Time to get on the coach for Lubin!

The Lubin Mine

Getting ready to go underground

Training room - Learning health and safety for the mine

Lubin explorers

Ida, Miranda and Mike

The lifts to the mine workings

Underground in Lubin

Gypsum specimens

Big Diggers underground

Transport for the Lubin mine tour

All aboard the Lubin express

Copper minerals!

Meanwhile, another party was in the Pokovitza mine, which was working higher up in the halite zone.

Big machines

Salt workings

Mindat people underground

Hammering salt

Salt tunnels


More big machines

All three Lubin area groups then returned to Lwowek Slaski for lunch at the restaurant.

I meet with the people from the trips, I couldn't go myself

Polish food! Yum.

Big gypsum from Lubin mine.

On monday evening we had our first 'official' party, an 'icebreaking' party in the old town hall. The Mayor of Lwowek Slaski greets us all and opens the event.

The Mayor of Lwowek Slaski

A polish folk group sing for us!

Fine food in a wonderful setting - the town hall dates back as far as 1217

Our host offers the vodka

Good food

More good food

Mindat People icebreaking

Also at the party, we had a preview of the town's quartz exhibition, part of the Crystal Days festival, and worked on for a long time by many people, but regular and quartz expert Amir Akhavan worked particularly hard for it.

Preview of the Quartz exhibition

Mindateers at the Quartz exhibition launch

Cabinet in the quartz exhibition

Chris Stanley and Mike Rumsey from Natural History Museum (London) enjoying a beer in the Quartz exhibition

The next day, three more trips.

Getting ready for day 2 of field trips. Three coaches, three localities

The Strzegom quarries were visited by different groups on each day.

Deep workings are only accessible by crane, no ramps into the workings

Mindat field trip participants gather for a briefing from the mine geologist.

typical miarolitic cavity in the granite.

A vein of corroded granite, mostly clay, revealed some nice smoky quartz crystals.

Andrzej found a battered, but nicely sized, smoky quartz.

More quarries were visited on the other days

Some of the finds - pyrite.

Another group was over in the agate fields.

We had diggers to prepare trenches for new material in the agate fields

Agate diggers

And, the owner of the field at one of the localities even made some cakes for everyone. How's that for hospitality!

Digging for agates


Miro and Miranda from Hong Kong excited about agate digging.

This doesn't look very impressive now... But it will do when cut open

Another locality, and digging for a different style of agate.

Agates in matrix!

And, for those who didn't find good enough agates, local collectors had plenty of low-priced agates to sell.

And they could even saw and polish the ones that were found during the day.

Miro makes sure the cakes don't get wasted and takes them back on the coach.

At the end of the first day, we go to an outdoor 'field party' near Lwowek Slaski.

Joining the Field Party

Great food was provided, but for the kids (and more adventurous), you could take a sausage and cook it yourself over the camp fire.

A very surreal (for those who didn't understand what it was all about) ceremony was played out by the locals - essentially it was a re-enactment of the mining fraternity initiation ceremonies.

Vegetarians - look away now.

Some of the food at the field party

Why are these people so happy?

Oh yes. Free beer.

And vodka!

The next day, more collecting. This time we look at the trip to Szklary for the chrysoprase.

Walking to the collecting area

Again, diggers have helped excavate a fresh trench.

Mindat people working the area.

More collecting

Digging for chrysoprase

A vein of chrysoprase!

Alfredo finds something altogether different.

Wednesday evening is the official opening of the Conference.

The Mayor of the town returns and we thank on stage everyone involved in putting the conference together.

We also open the mineral show.

More from the mineral show.

Reiner Bode at the mineral show.

And of course, there's still beer!

And food!

And bread and fat! Polish specialty, and quite essential if you want to line your stomach to survive the vodka.

But for those who were bored with vodka, we had a bar making up all manner of interesting drinks.

And finally, we announced the location of our second mindat conference.

Mindat Conference 2012 will be in Midelt, Morocco - See you there!

Article has been viewed at least 30624 times.


Great photo-report. Thanks!

John M Stolz
22nd Jul 2011 1:43am
Great photos and service! More More!

Marco Barsanti
22nd Jul 2011 1:58pm
Great work !

Nauroz Nausherwani
22nd Jul 2011 6:29pm
Thank you! Dates, please!? I want to plan ahead!

David K. Joyce
23rd Jul 2011 12:08am
It's nice to see all the great photos.
Wish I could have gone.

Stephanie Martin
23rd Jul 2011 8:54pm
I wish I may come to Morocco next time! There will be just one problem: if we find too much, customs make us pay a lot of money for fee!!! It is not like Poland, which is in the EU!!! Greetings from Italy by Riccardo.

Riccardo Modanesi
30th Jul 2011 7:56pm

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