Chilean mine will be sold

SANTIAGO, Chile, Nov. 26 (UPI) — The Chilean mine where 33 men were trapped underground for more than two months will be sold to avoid bankruptcy, officials said.

The San Esteban Mining Co. has remained closed since the miners were rescued six weeks ago and creditors have given the company 15 months to repay its debts, the BBC reported.

Part of the money from the sale will be used as severance pay for more than 300 miners and employees who lost their jobs after the accident, and the Chilean government is trying to recover some of the money it spent on the rescue.

After the miners were saved, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said the mine would never reopen.

‘CNN Heroes’ salutes Chilean miners and rescuers

The 33 Chilean miners who survived two months underground were given a standing ovation at a star-studded show in Los Angeles, along with five of their rescuers.

AFP – The miners, who have become global media stars since their rescue gripped the world last month, sang the Chilean national anthem as they were feted at a gala show hosted by television news network CNN.

“We want to thank the world, and we want to thank God for your prayers,” Luis Urzua said in Spanish, while Mario Sepulveda added: “Our families suffered. Our children suffered, too.”

“But thanks to the prayers of the whole world, we could come out of this difficulty,” he said.

The tribute to the miners – who earlier posed on the red carpet with the Chilean flag, and their rescuers – came at a CNN Heroes show paying tribute to ordinary people who have shown heroism.

Stars at the event included Halle Berry, Renee Zellweger, Kiefer Sutherland, Demi Moore, Jessica Alba and Kid Rock, while music was provided by Jon Bon Jovi, John Legend and Sugarland.

The Chilean miners – whose exploits could reportedly be made into a movie by Brad Pitt’s production company – have spent a few days seeing the sights of Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

But some suggest they may have been in LA for more than simply tourism.

The miners were the subject of a media bidding storm after their rescue in mid-October, following a record 69 days in an underground cavity at Chile’s remote San Jose mine in the Atacama desert.

Last week attorney Edgardo Reinoso, who represents the men, told Chilean daily El Mercurio that Hollywood star Pitt’s company Plan B Entertainment had made a multi-million-dollar offer to earn the rights to make the film.

Mr Reinoso said he has been flooded with proposals from numerous groups looking for interviews or hoping to seal commercial deals with the miners, with an average 10 propositions per day, according to El Mercurio.

Chilean Miners Arrive in the United States for ‘CNN Heroes’

Los Angeles, California (CNN) — The miners who survived 69 days in a Chilean mine landed in Los Angeles, California, Thursday morning for their first group tour to the United States since being freed last month.

The group and five of their rescuers were in the nation’s second-largest city to attend “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute,” which will air worldwide on Thanksgiving evening, November 25. Organizers invited them as special guests.

The Los Angeles police department gave the miners’ two-bus entourage a motorcycle escort from Los Angeles International Airport to a downtown hotel.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa greeted the group at the hotel with the traditional Spanish saying of “mi casa es su casa,” or “my house is your house.”

“The entire world was watching the success of your rescue,” Villaraigosa told the group.

Shortly after their arrival at the hotel, the miner known as “the poet” was freewheeling in the hallway with the other miner known as “Super Mario.”

“Where can we go dancing?” shouted Mario Sepulveda, 40, the Chilean miner whose exuberant personality earned him the super nickname.

He and Victor Zamora, 34, the miner-poet, were expressing the collective excitement of the miners, rescuers and their families.

For the majority of the visitors, the trip was their first time outside of Chile. At the top of their to-do list, besides resting after a 12-hour flight from Santiago, Chile, was shopping.

“I want to go to the mall and buy some shoes for my son and daughter,” said Katty Valdivia, 40, the wife of Sepulveda.

For miner Juan Carlos Aguilar, 49, and wife Cristy Coronado, 40, the visit was a double celebration — because they experienced the birth of their first grandchild, Emily Sofia Studer, born Wednesday.

When Aguilar was trapped in the mine for 69 days, his wife was concerned whether the ordeal would be too much of a strain on her pregnant 17-year-old daughter, Damaris.

“We were really worried,” Coronado said, speaking in Spanish as did his colleagues. “My daughter was far into her pregnancy and we were all consumed with what could happen. For those 69 days, we were a separated family.”

The miner-poet Zamora said he overcame the gloom of entrapment by doing something he had never done before: write poetry.

He wrote 32 poems — about his wife, mother, son, relatives, friends. He left copies of his verse at home and was unable to share his poetry.

“I never wrote before,” Zamora said. “It was a way of keeping me from suffering inside the mine. I wrote about feelings and how people were suffering on the outside and how they would ever rescue us.”

Like some other miners, he readily offered up his autographs to anyone wanting to meet him. “The Poet,” he wrote in Spanish near his name.

Monica Araya, the wife of Florencio Avalos, the first miner who was pulled out of the ground last month, described the 69 days of waiting and wondering as one of her worst experiences.

“It was bad, really bad,” said Araya. “I couldn’t believe it. I was worried about his life, but I believed they would all survive because I had faith and hope.”

She has since noticed a few different things about herself and husband.

“We have changed,” Araya said. “We are more sentimental, and we enjoy more what moments we have together.”

Before arriving in Los Angeles, the group made a brief stopover at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, where the miners signed flags. One signed “Corazon de Minero,” which means “heart of a miner.”

When miner Richard Villarroell prepared to board the plane in Santiago, Chile, on Wednesday night, the 27-year-old said he has only traveled to Argentina.

“I want to see the world,” he said, smiling. “I know all of Chile, but not the rest of the world.”

Villarroell, a mechanic, worked at the San Jose mine for two years. His girlfriend was pregnant while he was trapped.

The miners captured the world’s imagination when they survived the longest mine entrapment in history, beginning August 5.

For more than two weeks, many officials thought they were dead. But crews made contact after a small borehole enabled communication with the men trapped 2,300 feet underground.

Rescue crews encountered repeated setbacks. Initially, authorities expected the miners to be trapped until Thanksgiving or Christmas because of the difficulty of drilling a new tunnel to extract them.

On their U.S. trip, the miners and rescuers will get a whirlwind tour of southern California. They’ll see the sights and shop in Los Angeles and Hollywood through the weekend.

The visit is a world away from the miners’ experience in the weeks after the mine collapse that trapped them. In the days before they made contact with the ground, some ate about a bottle cap’s worth of canned fish per day and drank mine water that tasted like machine oil. They have said they were prepared to die, even as they awaited their rescue.

The miners and rescuers were invited by CNN to attend “Heroes,” an annual program now in its fourth year that shines a light on “everyday people changing the world.”

The Chileans were extended the invitation because their plight and rescue captured the world’s attention and symbolized the resilience of the human spirit.

CNN Heroes received 10,000 nominations from more than 100 countries. That list was narrowed down to the Top 10 CNN Heroes.

The Hero of the Year will be revealed on the show; the public votes to select that winner.

“The heroic efforts of the rescue of these miners was one of the most unifying and inspirational events of the year,” said Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide.

“CNN Heroes is a fitting way for CNN to honor these men and their rescuers,” he said. “We hope viewers around the world will be heartened by the story of their rescue as well as the stories of this year’s top 10 CNN Heroes.”‘

The miners’ imprisonment began when a ramp into the San Jose mine — located in the Atacama region of northern Chile — collapsed. In darkness, the men huddled in an area no larger than 165 square feet — the equivalent of a room sized 10 feet by 16 ½ feet.

Shift foreman Luis Urzua told the men that they had a shot of surviving the catastrophe, but there was a good chance they would never again see daylight.

The men occupied themselves by voting on everything, including how food should be distributed. Majority rule prevailed — 17 votes plus one — but the miners often managed to find common ground and most decisions were unanimous.

Everyone had a task. No one was left alone. And they became masters of compromise and patience, even as their rations quickly began running out.

Edison Pena, Olivia Newton John Duet: Chilean Miner Joins Singer On Stage

Edison Peña and Olivia Newton John duet? Yes, the duet was a dream come true for the Chilean miner as he joined the singer on stage at a concert in Santiago, Chile on Monday night. This is right after he had returned from a trip to the US to appear on talk shows and talk about his story. He also ran in the New York City marathon!

Peña was one of the thirty-three miners tapped in a Chilean mine for two months. The men were rescued in a miraculous recovery back in October. Their lives have been filled with talking about the events that transpired over that sixty-nine day period ever since. Edison is best known as the miner with the music in his heart. He requested Elvis Presley tunes be played to keep up the spirits of those tapped in the mine.

According to Ace Showbiz, Pena sang a duet with Newton John on her “Grease” classic “Summer Nights” during his time on stage. What a lucky guy. A classic song, and she was great to let him join her. The Chilean miners are certainly on the forefront of things right now. Just earlier this week, Brad Pitt expressed interest in bringing their story to the big screen!

It is easy to understand why there is so much interest in the story of the miners. They went through such an ordeal with what happened to them. They truly captured the attention of the world. People watched their rescue, glued to their television screens to see what happened as the men were brought in one by one. It is good to see the men doing so well following their rescue.

Time Magazine nominates Chile’s 33 miners “Person of the Year”

The weekly news magazine’s annual profile of persons who “most affected the news and our lives” has shortlisted the miners along with US President Barack Obama and Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg.

The 33 miners whose story of survival captivated the world have been nominated “Person of the Year” by Time, the popular US-based weekly news magazine.

The 33 miners who survived for 69 days below ground in Chile’s Atacama Desert have been put on a shortlist for the annual title with 25 others, including US President Barack Obama, songstress Lady Gaga, American comedians and political satirists Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg.

Each year the magazine, which has a global audience of 25 million, profiles a person or persons the magazine’s editors believe “most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year.”

The miners’ survival for 17 days on rations of food 700 meters underground before they were reached by rescuers, and then the flawless salvage operation that followed, gained them and Chile international plaudits.

Their story inspired many people and more than one billion tuned in to watch as one-by-one the men were pulled to the surface in a capsule and greeted by Chilean President Sebastián Piñera.

Weeks after the rescue Edison Peña, one of the miners, visited New York and grabbed headlines with his appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman and participation in the New York City marathon, which he completed in spite of an aching knee.

“In a matter of days, they went from victims of a nightmare scenario to stars of an inspirational real-life drama,” a summary on Time’s website says. “Trapped in a collapsed mine a half-mile underground and pushed to the limits of survival, 33 Chilean miners showed the true meaning of friendship and bravery.

“That they somehow kept their humanity during their 10-week ordeal was a testament to their unbreakable discipline and amazing sense of optimism.”

The public are invited to cast their vote on who they think the Person of the Year should be at Time’s website. However, it is the editors of the magazine who make the final decision.

Brad Pitt Bids Millions For Chilean Miners Movie


Hollywood superstar Brad Pitt is keen on making a film about the 33 Chilean miners who spent more than two months trapped underground. Pitt’s production company Plan B has apparently made a multi-million-dollar offer to secure the movie right’s to the men’s survival story.

The attorney who represents the miners, Edgardo Reinoso, revealed that he had been in conversation with the company about inquiring commercial opportunities which averages ten propositions a day. An agreement about the film being made is not expected until the 33 men have established a holding company to earn equal funds gained from deals connected with their ordeal in which they were trapped for 69 days before being rescued from underground last month.

It is thought that several of the miners who were rescued will be given roles in the proposed feature film, though I’m sure Steven Seagal or Machete’s Danny Trejo should be given roles to emphasise the Hollywood involvement, though they probably wouldn’t have much ass-kicking what with being underground and all.

A rival project has gone into production entitled The 33 of San Jose from director Antonio Recio. For extra verisimilitude the movie was shot in a real mineshaft and cast 32 Chilean actors and the one Bolivian. There’s a trailer doing the rounds with the tagline: “You’ve seen the outside, now take a glimpse of what it was like inside.”

Let’s hope it mines box office gold. Talk about exploiting a subject matter.

Five weddings and a porno: Chilean miners’ return to normality

Chilean miner Claudio Yáñez proposed to his girlfriend after escaping the mine.

Since escaping underground dungeon, they have experienced everything from marriage proposals to planned film depictions – Since escaping their underground dungeon last month the 33 miners have experienced a whirlwind of family dramas, red carpet trips, endorsements and planned film depictions – including a porno.

The men’s return to supposed normality has included marriage proposals, foreign jaunts, a football match against government ministers and a reported Hollywood bidding battle for the rights to their story.

Five of them went on bended knee to propose church weddings to girlfriends and wives, keeping promises made during 69 days trapped in the collapsed mine in the Atacama desert. Some had proposed in notes sent to the surface via a 700m borehole.

Esteban Rojas, 44, said he wanted a church wedding to follow up the civil service he had 25 years earlier. “I accept. I’ve still got the letter to hold you to it,” his wife, Jessica Yanez, told reporters with a smile.

Another miner, Claudio Yáñez (right), 34, proposed to his girlfriend, Cristina Núñez, at a reunion party at the seaside town of Caldera. “After these 10 years we’ve spent together, now it’s time for us to get married,” he said. The mood was soured by relatives who complained Yáñez had not spent enough time with them since emerging from the rescue capsule on 13 October. A sister hurled a rock at the couple’s house and said the family would not support him.

Yonni Barrios, 50, may also marry his long-term girlfriend but only if he divorces his wife – a love triangle which made the unlikely Casanova a source of soap opera-type attention when it was his turn to be winched to freedom.

The website reportedly offered Barrios $100,000 (£63,000) to be the face of its online dating service, a controversial infidelity network with the slogan “life is short, have an affair”. A condition of the deal, however, was that Barrios remain married to his existing wife to keep the two-timing reputation intact.

Most of the others have kept a low profile, including Carlos Mamani, 23, a Bolivian migrant, who has returned home to the offer of a government job.

The men vowed a pact of silence over certain events during their confinement, especially the first 17 days when food and hope dwindled, but they are expected to reveal fresh details for book and movie deals.

Unauthorised depictions are under way, including books by Chilean and American journalists, documentaries, TV movies and a possible Hollywood blockbuster. Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Madonna and Angelina Jolie have been named as possible directors and producers. Also planned is a pornographic film titled The Mine that Ate the 33, using a pun in Chilean slang which uses the same word, “mina”, for mine and hottie. The Chilean director, Leonardo Barrera, told Radio Cooperativa he was not planning “to show a massive orgy on the screen” but rather a sympathetic, fictionalised account.

Gifts and offers from around the world have deluged “los 33″, including a Bosnian factory’s pledge to send goat-skin shoes in time for Christmas.

President Sebastián Piñera, who led a team of ministers and rescuers in a 3-2 defeat of the miners in a celebratory football match, has seen his approval ratings soar to 63% thanks to his handling of the crisis. The three rescue capsules have also become stars: two are on display in Chile and one is at the Shanghai expo.

The Marathoner Who Conquered New York

NBC New York – He is a hero in his native Chile. He is a hero in New York.

Edison Peña, the Chilean miner who ran in the marathon, is an inspiration. a man who never gives up.

He ran this race without any distance running experience. He was in pain through much of the course. Yet he persisted. He refused to admit defeat.

Pena and New York City definitely have something in common. This city has survived 9/11 and other horrors during its four centuries. Yet it has always come back.

Edison Peña was one of 33 miners trapped underground for 69 days. They were returned to the surface on October 13 after an agonizing ordeal. For 17 days, the world didn’t even know if they were alive.

Peña managed to jog every day inside the copper and gold mine — loops of three to six miles daily, 2,000 feet underground. It helped keep him in shape but hardly prepared him for a 26 mile marathon. Several newspapers reported how on Marathon Sunday he managed to run through the first 13 miles in just two hours. But then the knee injured when the mine collapsed began to give out. Ignoring the pain, he stumbled on his way.

Finally, he stopped at a medical tent and had ice packs fastened to his knees. He was in pain but, as he said afterward, he never considered quitting. He told the Post: “I did not withdraw from this race. I didn’t even entertain the option of withdrawing from this race. No way. I want to motivate other people to also find the courage and strength to get over their pain.”

Peña is a stubborn guy. At a press conference after the race he crooned an Elvis Presley tune. He idolizes the rock legend. And,when he crossed the finish line and embraced his wife, who held a Chilean flag, he could hear the loud speakers blaring an Elvis song, “The Wonder of You.”

The words were fitting for a romantic soul like Edison: “I guess I’ll never know the reason why/You love me like you do/That’s the wonder/The wonder of you.”

As the tearful director of the marathon, Mary Wittenberg said: “I think we’ve just seen the best story in running I’ve ever seen,” reported the New York Times.

It is a great story. And Edison Pena deserves a ticker tape parade or, at least, the key to the city. He is an amazing guy.

Chilean miner Edison Peña totally adorable on ‘Letterman’

By Melissa Bell

Edison Peña, one of the 33 Chilean miners who spent 69 days underground, is in New York making the most of life aboveground. He plans to run the New York City marathon this weekend, and he dropped by “The Late Show with David Letterman,” where he and his translator put on an act that needs to be taken on the road. They are too adorable. Plus, Peña does a mean Elvis impression. Hilarious points all around.