‘The 33 Of San Jose’ Trapped 69 Days

March 19, 2012 by staff 

‘The 33 Of San Jose’ Trapped 69 Days, The owners of the San José mine in Chile where 33 men were trapped for 69 days in 2010 will pay US$5 million towards their rescue. The amount was agreed upon in a deal between the Chilean government and the San Esteban Mining Company that owns the mine. The government says it is less than 25% of what it paid for the rescue, which involved drilling a 700-meter tunnel to pull the men out.

The government had sued the San Esteban Mining Company in an attempt to recover the $22m it spent on the rescue, but a spokesman for the mine said the company was on the brink of bankruptcy and could not afford to pay more.

Maria Loreto Reid, a trustee for the San José mine, said its owners “had always wanted to contribute something towards the rescue”. She welcomed the agreement, which “avoided dragging out a lawsuit, which is always long and tortuous.”

A lawyer representing 31 out of the 33 trapped miners, Remberto Valdes, also praised the agreement, calling it “prudent and sensible.” He added that the US$5 million was “the maximum which could be asked for considering the dismal financial situation of the company.”

So far, no deal has been reached on the future of the mines owned by the company, but the San Jose mine has been closed since the accident on August 5, 2010. After the miners were all rescued, Chilean President Sebastian Pi?era vowed that it would never open again.

The miners who were trapped underground argue that is a step which the government should have taken much earlier. Thirty-one of them are pursuing legal action against the country, accusing it of failing to do its job properly by allowing the mine to remain open in the years before the accident.

They are each claiming compensation of over US$500,000.

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