In the Atacama

Copiapó will erect monument in honor of Chile’s rescued miners

The city that is home to 24 of the 33 men who were famously rescued from the San José mine hopes to commemorate the event with a memorial and museum.

Friday, October 29, 2010  
Flags at the San José Mine. Flags at the San José Mine.

A gigantic monument for the rescue of the 33 miners has been planned for Copiapó, the northern city nearest the mine that is also home to the majority of the miners.

 

Requiring over US$ 1.5 million for completion, the planned monument will consist of a massive sculpture over 65 feet (20 m) in height and weighing in at 47 tons, as well as a subterranean museum. The exhibition space in its current form is expected to hold artifacts from the rescue effort, a replica of the shelter and to-scale figures of the miners.


 
The above-ground structure will include an 11-ton stone held aloft by iron pillars representing the boring holes used in the rescue. These iron pillars will be supported on either side by the giant figures that represent the miners emerging from under ground.


 
The monument,  which currently has a working title of “Strength of the Atacama,” will be positioned at the point where Chile’s major north-south highway meets the city center. From this vantage point, the monument will be clearly visible both from within the city and for approaching vehicles.


 
According to a report in El Mercurio the Mayor of Copiapó, Maglio Cicardini, announced that work on the monument would begin sometime before the second week of November.  Officials hope to have the work completed by the one year anniversary of the mine’s collapse on August 5, 2011.


 
Until the monument has been completed, objects that will likely be stored there are being held at the Cultural Center of Copiapó. The helmet of engineer Miguel Fortt, flags from Camp Hope and souvenirs from the representatives of the press that covered the event. The exact contents of the future museum have not yet been finalised, but in a press release from the Copiapó regional government Mayor Cicardini expressed his desire to keep as many as possible of the implements used in the rescue effort in Copiapó, particularly the Phoenix 2 capsule.


 
With its completion, the memorial to the rescue effort will tower over Copiapó’s modest cityscape, a fitting testament to the global importance of this historic event.

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