Chile miners alive but long rescue ahead
“Specialist drilling equipment arrived on Monday at a small gold and copper mine in Chile to begin digging out 33 miners trapped nearly half a mile underground for 18 days – a Herculean task that could last until Christmas.
Thirty-three miners trapped deep underground for 17 days after a cave-in at a small private gold and copper mine in northern Chile are alive and well, but still face months underground until they can be hauled out.
The men tied a note reading ‘the 33 of us in the shelter are well’ to a drill that finally reached them on Sunday just as hopes of finding them alive were fading following the August 5 accident in the mine in Chile, the world’s top copper producing nation.”
Source: Financial Times, August 23, 2010
- Compañía Minera San Esteban Primera, the owner of the mine, is likely to go bankrupt due to the lost production and the cost of the rescue operation. Other parties in Chile have ensured the funding of the rescue operation.
- Drilling 700 meter at a 66cm diameter would normally not take more than a couple of weeks. However, no conventional methods can be used because of the risk of collapse or flooding of the shelter.
- The safety regulations for underground mining in Chile will become stronger. Chile is an important mining country, but regulation has mainly focussed on the large mining corporations. Smaller companies will have to increase safety to similar levels, which will reduce the competitiveness of some of the mines.
- The major mining houses, working together in the ICMM, might consider setting up a global mine rescue team for situations like these. Having a team standby with the best equipment possible to assist in any mine disaster would shorten the time required to rescue miners and increase the likelihood of survival.
©2010 | Wilfred Visser | thebusinessofmining.com
Top Mining Industry Blogs
The Business of Mining was selected among the world's top 9 mining industry blogs by Mining IQ.
- Recycling & the Future of Mining
- Mongolia's future as commodities exporter
- Technological Risk in Mining: Biotech replacing Potash?
- Bellzone Mining confirms MOU with China International Fund (CIF)
- Australia and China sign over A$10bn of deals
- Capital Structure after the Crisis
- The Most Influential People in Mining 2010
- Minesourcing: How could crowdsourcing be used in mining?