Chilean miners rescue operation
Queen’s University mining professor Vic Pakalnis is available to discuss the ongoing rescue operation underway in Chile to free 33 trapped miners. Yesterday the rescue team announced that they hope to be able to free the miners weeks earlier than they originally estimated.
“The operation is difficult. The rock is very hard – over 10 times harder than concrete – and one of the drill bits used on the first boring machine failed, delaying operations,” says Professor Pakalnis. “They have just moved in a much larger drill rig which can drill at a higher speed so baring equipment failure, rock bursts (tremors), or geological anomalies, people at site are hopeful they can reduce the time to get to the miners by half. Everyone in the mining industry is watching and waiting for a successful conclusion to this difficult ordeal – particularly the miners and their families.”
While at the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Professor Pakalnis worked as the Provincial Director of Mining and Director of the Industrial Health and Safety Branches and Regional Director, Eastern Ontario, with corporate and program responsibilities for Health and Safety Programs and Employment Standards. His research interests include occupational health and safety, mining communities and public policy.
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