5 reasons Chile mine rescue is so successful

By , Correspondent

3. Advanced machinery

  • close
    The drill bit of the Xtrata 950, which dug the escape hole for the 33 miners trapped a half-mile under the Chilean desert. Rescue workers finished reinforcing an escape shaft on Monday, setting the stage for their evacuation and an end to a two-month ordeal that gripped the world.
    View Caption

Directional drilling advanced in recent years as oil companies sought to exploit hard-to-reach deposits. That technology allowed technicians on the surface to guide drills precisely to the mine tunnels and rooms to establish communication, provide relief supplies, and eventually drill an escape. Brandon Fisher, who invented the drill bit used to bore out the elevator shaft used by the miners today, says that the 28-inch hole was relatively small by his standards – his company's bits can drill holes of almost 10 feet in diameter. With the hole drilled, long-established techniques could be employed – such as lowering a metal capsule and hauling it to the surface with a winch.

3 of 5

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...