Rescue in the Dominican Republic: miners rescued with the help of Abitibi drillers

Using its specialized equipment, an Abitibi-based drilling company helped extricate two workers trapped for 10 days in an underground mine in the Dominican Republic.

• Read also: Dominican Republic: rescue of two minors prisoners underground for 10 days

“It’s quite rare that we are lucky enough to be able to save people with what we do. You just can’t refuse,” says Sylvain Desrosiers, general foreman at Machines Roger International.

Last week, he and his colleagues lent a hand in an operation to extricate two workers trapped for ten days in a copper and zinc mine in the Dominican Republic.

Gregores Mendez and Carlos Yepez Ospina had been cut off from all contact with the surface on July 31 after a landslide in this mine located about 80 km north of the capital Santo Domingo.

Shortly after the accident, a Canadian mining contractor working on the site contacted Machines Roger International, a Val-D’Or company specializing in drilling large diameter holes, to ask for help.

The company’s director of operations, Christian St-Amour, quickly accepted the request, even though it was a first for the company.

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) were called upon, as they have the only planes capable of transporting their 27,000 kg equipment.


Military aircraft were the only ones able to carry the 27,000 kg of equipment required.

Photo from Anita Anand’s Twitter

Military aircraft were the only ones able to carry the 27,000 kg of equipment required.

“It’s not every day that you get the chance to board a CAF aircraft. It’s something grandiose,” recalls Mr. St-Amour.

Bypass

When the team arrived on the scene on August 7, workers were already busy digging a bypass tunnel to reach the two miners.

However, this technique poses significant health risks to those inside the mine, due to the gases that are released during the use of explosives.

The Quebec drillers therefore dug a vertical tunnel 33 meters above the two miners, using their machinery.

“Our hole was used to be able to send breathing apparatus and protective equipment to the two miners in order to protect them while the blasting took place,” explains Mr. St-Amour.


Their machinery made it possible to quickly dig a 33-meter vertical tunnel in order to transport equipment to the miners.

Photo courtesy, Machines Roger International

Their machinery made it possible to quickly dig a 33-meter vertical tunnel in order to transport equipment to the miners.

Alternate plan

If the foreground didn’t go as planned, the opening of the hole would have been widened enough to be able to extricate the workers from their precarious position.

“The ground conditions are quite extreme in this sector of the mine, it could be that they are unable to progress with the gallery”, illustrates Mr. St-Amour.

A hundred Dominican experts and technicians took part in the rescue.

The miners said in a video that they enjoyed good conditions underground.

“We slept comfortably, it made the stay less difficult [même si] the first days were complicated,” said Carlos Yepez Ospina.

– With AFP

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