Press Releases

Murray & Roberts participates in San Jose Mine Rescue 

14 October 2010

Across the world, the unprecedented successful rescue operation of the 33 miners trapped 700m underground in San Jose mine in Chile prompted intense international attention from a global audience. After 69 days underground, including two weeks during which they were feared dead, the men emerged to the cheers of exuberant Chileans and before the eyes of the world.

The Cementation Group, through its global footprint and capability was able to participate in the rescue operation and fly the flag high for Murray & Roberts and South Africa.

To read more about the miners and their background, please click here:

Murray & Roberts has a controlling shareholding in two mining contracting companies in Chile;  Terracem, which is a specialist raise drilling company, and the recently established Cementation Sudamerica, which is focused on major vertical shaft and underground mine infrastructure work.  Its partner in Chile is a local company, Terraservice.

The miners were trapped since 05 August 2010, after the main access tunnel to the mine collapsed.

On Sunday, 22 August 2010, communication was established with the miners when a Terraservice drill reached their underground refuge chamber.  The miners attached a written message to the drill pipe confirming that they were all alive and well.

One of Murray & Roberts’ large diameter raise drilling machines, the Strata 950, was used by Terracem in the rescue operation.  Rotary Vertical Drilling System (RVDS) technology, co-developed by Murray & Roberts, was applied to accurately drill a pilot hole to reach the trapped miners. The Strata 950 had just completed a shaft for Codelco’s Andina Mine and was quickly transferred to the San Jose Mine where drilling commenced immediately.

To explore the drilling process, please click here:

The miner’s rescue was planned via the ‘Plan B’ hole, independent of the Murray & Roberts’ hole. 'Plan B' drill broke through to the miners on Saturday, 9 October 2010 and the rescue was started at approximately 04:15 on 13 October 2010, with the first miner surfacing just after 05:00 that day (South African time).

All 33 miners were successfully brought to the surface early on the morning of 14 October 2010 and reunited with the families.

To view a full photo gallery of the events that unfolded at the mine, please click here:

The Chilean government managed the rescue and drilling process exceptionally well and Murray & Roberts are proud to have assisted the Chilean government through this process.

This is a wonderful achievement for South Africa, Murray & Roberts and specifically the Cementation Group.  We are privileged to have been a partner in this global rescue process.

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