Rescue of two miners in Dominican Republic could take weeks

Corporacion Minera Dominicana (Cormidom), president Paul Marinko could not give a date for the rescuing of the two miners caught underground after rocks collapsed in the copper and zinc mine in central Monseñor Nouel province on Sunday, 31 July 2022. The mine is Chinese-owned.

The miners caught underground are mine assistant 28-year old Gregory Mendez Torres, a native of same Monseñor Nouel province, and Colombian mining expert 40-year old Carlos Yepez Ospina.

The rock fall occurred on level 215 where the miners were working at 1:10am.

Marinko said Yepez and Méndez are receiving food and beverages. He said they have enough air to keep them in good condition underground. Both are in good health and spirits, said the company. As proof, a photograph of both taken on Tuesday, 2 August 2022 in which they were smiling was presented.

Yepez’s wife arrived from Colombia on Monday. Méndez Torres is the father of two minors and is from Cerro de Maimón, where the mine is located.

“It will be a very challenging few weeks before achieving the rescue (…) for the moment we cannot determine the exact time frame for this because the tasks are slow and we must respect the procedures,” said Marinko.

He explained they are using two simultaneous processes to carry out the rescue. In one they are encapsulating with steel the tunnel where the collapse occurred. In the other they are building a tunnel of about 74 meters to be able to advance to reach the miners at a faster pace using traditional mining methods.

As reported, the rescue work is being carried out by some 70 people, led by specialized technicians from the United States, Australia, Canada, Mexico and Peru.

“Our only priority is to rescue Carlos and Gregory. The mine operations are completely paralyzed until we bring them to the surface,” said Marinko.

Marinko said that they are working with the Ministry of Energy and Mines, its General Department of Mines, the Ministry of Labor, the Center for Emergency Operations (COE), the Rescue Team of the Ministry of Defense and the Civil Defense. Experts have arrived from Canada, from the Moran Mining Group, to contribute to the rescue of the miners.

Speaking to the press, Energy & Mines Minister Antonio Almonte said that cave ins of underground mines happen. “In a mine, 10, 12 or 15 years can go by without a landslide, but in one year there can be two or three,” said Almonte.

Almonte said that the company is doing all that is needed to reach the miners through the bypasses as soon as possible.

The government’s General Director of Mining, Rolando Muñoz, explained a new structure has been created to assist the two men while they are trapped underground. He explained that he has been in contact with the two miners and that they have expressed that they feel physically well.

They are both being supplied with food and liquids through an open conduit through which they are also kept communicated, he explained. He said the place where the miners are is 95 meters long and six meters wide.

Antonio Almonte and Rolando Muñoz spoke to journalists after supervising the rescue of miners Carlos Yépez Ospina (Colombian) and Gregory Alexander Méndez Torres (Dominican), at the Cerro de Maimón mine.

Read more in Spanish:
El Caribe
N Digital
Noticias SIN
Diario Libre
Listin Diario
Moran Mining Group

3 August 2022