2010 Copiapó mining accident
Mining accidents can have a variety of causes, including leaks of poisonous gases such as hydrogen sulfide or explosivenatural gases, especially firedamp or methane, dust explosions, collapsing of mine stopes, mining-induced seismicity, flooding, or general mechanical errors from improperly used or malfunctioningmining equipment (such as safety lamps or electrical equipment). Use of improper explosives underground can also cause methane and coal-dust explosions.
Chile's long tradition of mining developed duringthe 20th century and has made the country the world's top producer of copper. An average of 34 people per year since 2000 have died in mining accidents in Chile, with a high of 43 in 2008.
The 2010Copiapó mining accident, also known as the "Chilean mining accident", began in the afternoon of Thursday, 5 August 2010 as a significant cave-in at the troubled 121-year-old San José copper–gold mine.The mine is located deep in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest and harshest regions on earth, about 45 kilometers north of Copiapó, in northern Chile, South America.
The buried men, who becameknown as "Los 33", were trapped 700 meters underground and about 5 kilometers from the mine's entrance. The mixed crew of experienced miners and technical support personnel subsequently survived for arecord of 69 days deep underground before their rescue.
Large escape boreholes were drilled concurrently using several types of equipment provided by multiple international corporations and based onthree different access strategies.
While the three drilling operations progressed, technicians worked on building the rescue capsules that would eventually carry the miners to safety calledFenix. Several media organizations produced illustrations of the capsules' basic design.
The original plan called for two rescue workers to descend into the mine before bringing the first miner to the...