Didn't post earlier as I didn't want to jinx the operation. But yesterday I was driving home & happened to come behind a beatup Ford Explorer with a couple of the most unique Mining signs I had seen. Probably more so because this is lefty country.
The Explorer pulls over to look for elk, so I pull in behind him to see what's up with the stickers. Turns out the guy is a driller & powder monkey, 5th generation with, as he says the 6th sitting in the passenger seat. We shoot the breeze & I ask him what he thinks of the rescue. As a driller he was impressed that they could put a hole down, that large a diameter, in the time they did.
I spent 10 years underground doing everything from being a contract miner to mine management so know just a little about mining. Do you know how dark it is underground when your miner's lamp goes out? & how quiet, except for the timber talking as it is put through the processs of shoring the openings.
Fortunately for the miners, Chile has a culture & tradition of mining. I won't list the things that could have gone wrong with rookies at the controls! The company also must have kept good records, not all mines do, so they were able to locate the opening that held the miners with their initial attempt. The little cage that the men were hoisted in was very innovative, one has to believe that it was an available piece of equipment, why is beyond me. I have been on a cage that was without guides to look at a caving air shaft, You have to use a loading stick to stop the cage from spinning as the cable has a tendency to want to unwind when it is not guided.
I am very happy for the miners, on my trips through the Couer D'Alenes I stop at Exit 72 (Big Creek) to look at the memorial to the 92 miners killed in a mine fire. When I graduated from UW this company was 1 of 2 that offered me a job, & though it was more money my mining prof said I would learn more working for a bigger company. He was right & as I look at that memorial I realize just how much.