Chile prepares to rescue trapped miners

16:11, September 29, 2010      

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Chile will get all the facilities ready in 15 days to rescue the 33 miners out of a copper mine in northern Chile, where they have been trapped since Aug. 5, a government official said on Tuesday.

However it does not mean the rescue operation will be carried out in 15 days, said Andre Sougarret, rescue chief and representative of Chilean Interior Minister Cristian Barra.

"In 15 days we will be ready to make the rescue. But it does not mean the rescue will happen in 15 days, but all the facilities will be ready," he said.

The Chilean authorities launched two operations, called Plan A and Plan B, since late August to drill tunnels to reach the 33 miners trapped in a shelter 700 meters underground in San Jose gold and copper mine.

Sougarret said that they drilled 50 meters from Monday to Tuesday, but this speed was almost impossible to be kept.

"We have had problems before, we have had to stop the machines for four days, due to problems in the drilling ... so I cannot affirm anything till we are very sure about the rescue being advanced," he said.

Last Tuesday, Chilean Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said that rescue of the 33 miners could not be finished in early November, a couple of days ahead from the original plan.

The authorities have introduced a third operation called Plan C by using an oil exploration drill to carve the third tunnel to reach the miners.

After the launching of Plan C, which can drill between 20 to 30 meters per day, some experts said that the rescue could be finished much earlier.

However, experts said that once the drilling process was done, there were many other things to do before the miners could be lifted out in a special capsule, including reinforcing the tunnel.

Source: Xinhua


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