Coober Pedy: Opal mining mecca

Mine tailings litter the Olympic Opal Field near Coober Pedy, South Australia.

The town is known as the opal capital of the world because of the quantity of the precious gems that have been mined there since they were first found in 1915.

It is also famous for most of the residents living below ground - mostly in old mines refurbished - due to the scorching daytime heat.

* Click the gallery link for Herald photographer Paul Estcourt's photo essay on the area.

- NZ Herald

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