Ethical Opal Mining In Harmony With The Australian Outback
At Opal Minded, we ensure that procuring high-quality opals for our jewellery doesn’t come at a cost to the land, its flora and fauna, or the people involved. The Australian opal industry is built and sustained on ethical practices, and we engage with every aspect of these practices. Opal Minded is conflict-free, and no harm is ever done at any stage of operation.
As a grassroots industry and one that has never succumbed to corporate interests, the Australian opal industry remains local and accountable. As a small, independent business, we usually work with solo contractors or teams of 2-5 people, which means our commercial impact is obvious and immediate. We have full vision of our supply chain, enabling transparency (and accountability) in every facet of our business.
Respect for the land
We have great respect for nature and the earth we toil. Our dedication to the land influences all of our mining activities. We progressively rehabilitate the land that we operate on and ensure minimal disruption to native flora and fauna by re-landscaping and re-seeding disrupted vegetation with native seedlings. We work to a ‘gold standard’ of land rehabilitation that ensures we leave the land in a better state than before we started.
Life at Jundah-Opalville mine
The Jundah-Opalville mines were once dangerous large holes and posed a major safety hazard for miners. Now, our mines are open-cut and have been for some time. To further reduce our impact on the land, we excavate on a much smaller ‘surgically executed’ scale.
Learn more about our Jundah-Opalville mine.
Our mining camp was built using only recyclable materials, and while living on-site, we run entirely off-grid, using clean energy source alternatives. We substitute non-renewables by using solar energy. Thanks to an abundance of sunshine, our solar panels are always charged. We are also careful to conserve the Australian outback’s most precious resource – water.
Our mission is to contribute positively towards activities that help make Outback life easier. We have established clean pasture protection by ensuring our mining operations are biosecure, and we actively participate in local road maintenance. We also enjoy donating to social events organised by the local Councils and have created a fossicking site in Jundah, where everyone is welcome to try their hand at uncovering opal treasure. We pay all of our workers fairly and ensure a safe working environment for everyone.
Beyond our mines
In addition to our land rehabilitation work, we proudly support the following charities: The Royal Flying Doctor, provides an invaluable emergency medical service to people in rural and remote Australia. The Little Legs Foundation, is a charity with a mission to find a cure for childhood brain cancer. The Australian Koala Foundation, is a non-profit organisation working to help protect wild koalas and their natural habitat. Kids with Cancer Foundation provides medical, financial and family support to kids with cancer across Australia. And PCYC (police citizens youth clubs), which supports vulnerable and disadvantaged youths across NSW. Renata also regularly gives to the homeless population in central Sydney, where our Boutique and Studio are located.
It’s hard to explain the life of an opal miner and their relationship with the outback. It has to be lived to be understood. We’ve spent generations learning to live and work in harmony with the Australian bush, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Our founder and director John Bernard is the chief operator of our mines. He continually strives to achieve strict regulation of the Australian opal industry, helping keep Opal Minded at the forefront of ethical excellence.
John is supported by his brother Ron Benny and a revolving team of family members and seasonal contractors who are all compelled by the magic of the Australian outback.
The bush-style accommodation involves a 360-degree canopy view of stars and armies of creepy crawlies and flies. All facilities are shared, and all meals are cooked by Ron, a man of many (including culinary) talents.
Where the butterfly goes, an opal glows
The butterfly in our logo is symbolic of a traditional mining belief that states, “where there are butterflies, there are opals“. There are various (Dreamtime) stories around the origins of this belief. One less fanciful notion is that butterflies are likely attracted to the moisture conditions present at the tectonic plates where opals form.
The Opal Minded butterfly serves as a constant reminder that the environment we operate in is fragile, and we must nurture it and repay it in kind.
We stand for protecting the environment and strive always to tread lightly. We are continually educating ourselves on the most effective way to do this.
We adhere to the Jewellery Association of Australia (JAA) and National Council of Jewellery Valuers (NCJV) codes of ethics. Most importantly, we follow our own moral compass, a measure more powerful than any written code.
As stated in our brand manifesto.