Word of the Week (238): OREBODY (*new CSW15*) (probability 16256), by David Sutton

An OREBODY is a connected mass of ore found in a mine or suitable for mining, as a vein, bed or pocket. The term has been around since at least Victorian times, so you may wonder why it has only just made it to the list, but I suspect it may be because it was more usually written as two words - the OED's first citation of it as one word is from Rio Tinto report of 1998 has the line 'As mining progresses deeper the pit side walls need to be cut back into the waste material surrounding the orebody'.

I promised we'd look at a some specialist terms from mining, so here are a few more. A BUCKER is a hammer for bucking ore, that is, breaking it into small piece. A BUDDLE is a sloping container for washing ore, and this can also be a verb, to wash ore in this way. To COSTEAN is to sink pits through the surface soil to the underlying rock in order to establish the direction of a lode. A LONGWALL is a long working face in a coalmine. MULLOCK is Australian slang for waste ore or earth from a mine; it gives an adjective MULLOCKY. A STEMPEL or STEMPLE is a cross-timber in a shaft. A STOPE is a steplike working in a mine to extract ore, and a STULL is a horizontal prop in a stope; STOPE can also be a verb, to extract ore by means of stopes.

WHITEDAMP is a mixture of poisonous gases, especially carbon monoxide, in a mine, while its companion BLACKDAMP refers to air that is low in oxygen and high in carbon dioxide as a result of an explosion in a mine.


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