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Rust on the Skeleton Coast


#1

I just spent 15 months running a specimen mine on Namibia’s desert
skeleton coast, we were 1/2km from the sea and 5m below sea level,
most days the wind blew at 25 knots out of the southwest (Antarctica’s
down that way a few times a year the wind would shift and come
screaming out of the Namib desert, hot, choking, wake you up in the
middle of the night thinking you’re being suffocated… According to
local legend the Namibian coast is among the most corrosive seacoasts
in the world. We tried diesel mixed with axel grease and crank case
oil, fish oil, commercial anti-rust preparations, electrical charge
systems, red lead and zinc chromate paints, nothing would stop it.
BMW and AUDI test drive all their new machines here and I had a chance
to chat with one of the Beamer engineers about their paint tests, He
seez, it’s not the humidity its the dust that’s the big culprit, it’s
essentially a mix of various corrosive salts (in addition of NaCl)
So to the lady’s who’s shop is on the sea in Israel in addition to
coatings which would help and humidity reduction which should also
help, try and keep the dust off your tools. My delicate hand tools I
kept wrapped in oiled leather pouches and was religious about wiping
them off after use, but in the end it was at best a holding action,
the rust will win.

Chris Johnston
Geologist-Miner-Gem Dealer
Omaruru Namibia