Maptek teamwork and dedication key to safe rescue

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Teamwork, dedication and a commitment to safe practices were key ingredients in the ultimate success of the 2010 San José mine rescue. Maptek is proud to have been part of the monumental effort which culminated on October 14 when all 33 miners were safely above ground. They had been trapped underground for 69 days.

Maptek Founder Bob Johnson and Vice President of Maptek South America Marcelo Arancibia praised the professionalism and commitment of staff who were working under pressure in a very emotional environment.

‘Gathering and modelling the technical data which provided a better understanding of where the miners were trapped was painstaking and at times very difficult’, commented Arancibia. ‘Staff did very well to focus on the job at hand.’

Maptek worked closely with other technology companies to identify a safe access route for freeing the miners. The topography was scanned in 3D using the I-Site laser technology manufactured in South Australia. This data provided an accurate surface model which was combined with historical 2D plans to build a 3D underground model.

The meticulous task of modelling all the information in Vulcan and designing the orientation of drillholes was driven by the need to accurately intersect the shaft where the men were believed to be sheltering.

‘The teamwork on the drilling campaign alone was a testament to the Maptek service ethos’, added Arancibia. ‘Staff members worked in shifts throughout the 9 weeks since Maptek was first contacted on August 11.’

‘Rigorous attention to modelling the data resulted in an engineering design which was critical to the safe management of the rescue phase. Accuracy of that data was a key factor in controlling the geomechanics of the drilling process, with measurements regularly updated to guide the drilling.’

The effort was justified beyond all expectations when all 33 miners emerged through the rescue portal on October 14.

Marcelo Arancibia commented that Maptek South America has maintained an interest in the well-being of the rescued men. ‘Participants in the South American Users Conference in Viña del Mar this week will pay tribute to their bravery,’ he concluded.

Maptek staff and customers with some of the rescued miners.

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