The incredible rescue of the 33 miners at the San Jose mine has inspired border-crossing support from China, Australia and the United States, home to some of the world’s other robust mining industries.
American drilling and mining companies were brought in early on to assist in the rescue effort. Within days of the mine’s initial collapse, Chile’s state-owned mining company Codelco had been brought on to handle the rescue efforts. Recognizing the extraordinary technical demands of the rescue, Codelco did not hesitate to call in reinforcements, a move that has contributed to resounding international praise for Chile’s government’s handling of the situation.
In a press statement on Oct. 13, Assistant Secretary of the US State Department, Philip Crowley, said “we salute the Government of Chile, which has demonstrated great leadership throughout this ordeal […] and the United States is proud to have played a very small part through NASA and the private sector in contributing to this wonderful moment.”
Kevin Rudd, the Foreign Minister of Australia whose private sector mining companies also played a role in the rescue effort, offered similar praise. “The Chilean Government should be congratulated on the professional and compassionate manner [in which] it handled the rescue and the way it drew together expertise from around the world to ensure the success of a complex operation,” he said.
One of Chile’s most important trade partners, and home to another of the world’s largest mining industries, China has also been watching closely during the course of the rescue. Responsible for about 40% of the world’s coal, China’s mines employ about 7 million people, more than all the world’s other mines combined.
Following the extraordinary global response to Chile’s rescue efforts, China just passed a new law during the week of Oct. 4 that requires mine engineers and managers to go down their mines five times monthly to ensure safety standards are maintained.