Chile has been a major producer and world exporter of copper ores for about 150 years. It is currently the world’s largest producer of copper. The mines discovered and exploited in Chile contributed to the closure of copper mines in Cornwall in the mid-nineteenth century and its ores, with those of southern Australia became the pre-eminent sources for this versatile metal.
However, this efficient exploitation of arguably Chile’s most important natural asset comes at a price. Every day skillful miners work deep under the earth’s surface to extract the ores and send them to terra firma for processing. This morning, people woke up to the news that the thirty-three Chilean miners who had become trapped 4.5 miles from the mine’s entrance, and nearly a mile deep under the desert, on 5 August after a landslide, were still alive and apparently in good spirits. Television Nacional de Chile broadcast a video of the miners and Associated Press reported:
The first video released of the 33 men trapped deep in the Chilean copper mine in Copiapó, San Jose, shows the men stripped to the waist and appearing slim but healthy, arm-in-arm, singing the national anthem and yelling “long live Chile, and long live the miners!”
Video broadcast in Spanish by Television Nacional de Chile