On 11 August, 2010, Maptek received a call from the team that was working on the rescue in San Jose mine, asking for help on the drilling control and 3D display to map the drillholes.
We immediately sent one of our Mine Engineers, Alvaro Quezada, to the site to help. Following this, Estibaliz Echabarria from the Maptek I-Site team travelled to the site to conduct surveys of the region.
This data was taken into Maptek Vulcan 3D software to create an accurate topographic model and 3D representation of the complex underground workings to understand where the 33 miners were trapped.
Alvaro then helped to design the direction and orientation of the drillhole which targeted the tunnel, named the Esperanza Drillhole - Hope Drillhole. Maptek Geologist, Sandra Jara, working the shift on 22 August, witnessed the first contact with the miners when she heard the men tapping on the drill as it entered the chamber where they were trapped.
She immediately telephoned Maptek South American Vice-President Marcelo Arancibia and exclaimed, "Marcelo, there is life down there!"
Sandra then helped to design and the control the orientation of the next two drillholes that also successfully made contact with the 33 miners down below. This final drillhole was the one used for the Plan B access shaft that was used to rescue the men.
This team work, between staff from companies such as BHP Escondida, Codelco, Collahuasi, Geoatacama, Geotec and Maptek, was carried out discreetly and efficiently, with the sole focus on achieving the amazing outcome.
Maptek is grateful to Walter Veliz (BHP Escondida), Nicolas Cruz BHP Escondida), Oscar Castro (Codelco), Andres Sougarret (Codelco) for their assistance and guidance. Maptek is honoured to participate and to be able to use our skills and technology to help with the rescue.