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day 2: in the mines

On the second day we went into the mines. If you’re going to spend three days filming rocks, here is the source. Here is a rocky mountain which has been turned inside out, held upside down and shaken for the rocks in its pockets. We spent the morning wandering over debatable fences into grey areas of private property beneath improbably and completely undeserved blue skies. It was so still that the morning fog blanket didn’t roll off till 10. The iron blow has been sanctioned and granted a car park and a look-out. What are you looking at? Straight down to the turquoise water in the pit? East to the lake which filled the town of Crotty after it emptied of promise and people? West to the real mine, south to the bare moonscape of Mt Owen, or far into the distance to the parallax of hills and mountains sliding across the ocean-edged horizon?
The iron blow was the open-cut mine before the open-cut mine, and later that afternoon we went west.

This guy Anthony has grown up in Queenstown, after his father and grandfather before. He drove us into the mine. Often tourists like to go underground, down in the cage to the tunnels. Why is that? Three miners died in January, so the underground tour ceased. Anthony  told us that the mine had another two years of precious rock in it, and then the town would disappear. You could tell he was sad that global capital rationalities and environmental protections had somehow converged to rule out shaking the full copper pockets of the surrounding hills.
I wondered what would happen to Queenstown in two years, when the mine became just another rock formation amongst the mountains, was there time or space for other income or identity? But just three weeks later a rockfall sealed the deal, and the mine announced its premature closure.

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