'The Miracle' in action drilling the rescue shaft
Drill rig nicknamed 'The Miracle' arrives on site in Copiapó, Chile to drill shaft that ultimately rescues the 33 trapped miners
The San Jose Mine in Copiapó, Chile collapsed on August 5 trapping 33 miners. Their fate uncertain, the President of Chile, Sebastian Pinera vows to rescue them.
Nine drilling rigs are deployed on site to find the miners and begin drilling probing holes 5 ˝ inches in diameter about 2,300 feet deep. One of the probing holes locates the miners 17 days later on August 22, just two days before they would have run out of food. The probing hole provides the miners with food, communications and supplies via capsules nicknamed “Carrier Pigeons.”
The Chilean government initially estimates up to 4 months to rescue the miners, sometime before Christmas. CODELCO, Chile’s national mining company implements Plan A, B and C drilling efforts. Geotec Boyles Bros S.A. completes a 5 ˝ inch hole on August 27 that ultimately becomes the “Plan B” borehole that rescues the miners. On September 3, Geotec Boyles Bros. brings in a larger rig which utilizes a custom-built heavy duty truck chassis manufactured by ITW’s Crane Carrier Company. The rig reams out the existing “Plan B” borehole to 12 inches, then completes a third pass at 28 inches in diameter. The rig is nicknamed “The Miracle.”
Plan B drilling begins on September 5. Throughout the process, there is zero down time attributed to the rig and Crane Carrier Company truck chassis. Given the accelerated performance of Plan B, the Chilean Government on October 4 publicly announces the miners may be rescued 2 months early, sometime in mid October. On Saturday October 9 at 8:03 AM, total depth was reached and drilling was completed. All 33 miners are safely returned to the surface the following week.
Vice President Fred Slack of the drilling rig manufacturer stated “the exceptional performance of the Crane Carrier chassis contributed to the safe rescue of the Chilean miners. We recognize the quality and durability of the Crane Carrier chassis and truly value our strategic partnership with them.”
Posted November 8, 2010