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ELMIN invites the Chilean miners and their families to rest on the Greek islands for free

20 October 2010 / 11:10:48  GRReporter
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The story of Chilean miners who were rescued last week after spending more than two months under the ground shook the world. In Greece, the mining company ELMIN specializing in bauxite mining sent an open invitation to their Chilean colleagues and their families to rest on the Greek islands for free. Liberis Polihronopoulos, CEO of ELMIN, agreed to speak especially to GRReporter for the noble initiative of his staff and the mining business as a whole.

The initiative to invite the 33 Chilean miners and their families to rest on the Greek islands is very noble and good. Tell us more about it. What is your offer exactly? Who will pay their expenses? How did you get in touch with them?

We organized a meeting in the mine when we realized that miners in Chile were buried, but alive. We discussed the situation, how it happened, what are their chances of being taken on the surface and what we can do or rather what we would like to happen if Greek miners were in the shoes of the Chilean miners. We are doing the same work in the same conditions as the miners in Chile, so we decided to begin by sending a letter as a sign of support. It grew into an open invitation to the miners and their families to come to rest on the Greek islands.

It should be noted that the initiative came entirely from the staff of ELMIN S.A. The management of the company only supported the idea and helped to establish the contact. I can say that we are pleased and proud that our employees have this mindset and solidarity with their colleagues. As a manager I made sure to establish the contact with the Embassy of Chile to help the workers from the company to send their letter. We looked for sponsors to support the initiative so that it would be effectively implemented and the company also takes a share of the financial responsibility of the initiative.

Miners in Chile spent 65 days at a depth of 700 meters under the ground. Could you describe the working conditions at such a depth and how many hours per day could the miners work under normal conditions without putting their health at risk?

Of course, the miners were closed in complete darkness and high humidity for 65 days. The only advantage they had is that they are familiar with these conditions due to the nature of their work. However, in order to survive, they showed a very high spirit and consciousness, which helped them to stay calm and conscious and to keep their mental health in general during this extremely long period. The normal working day of a miner is between 6.5 to 8 hours.
What happened to the Chilean miners made the world pay a little more attention to your profession. Many accidents have occurred recently, including Chile. This was the second similar accident for many of the buried miners. Accidents are not rare in this sector and most often they are fatal. Tell us more about what are the hazards and the risks for the people who go down underground every day.   

Generally, working under the ground dates back to ancient times. In our country similar are the mines for metal extraction on the Halkidiki peninsula, in Lavrios and in other parts of the Mediterranean region. I can say that mining is an art known to mankind for many centuries, and it has its peculiarities just like any other work.

When you do not admire what you do and do not work in the best possible way, it'll be back at some point, it will even have its revenge somehow. No one knows for sure where the problem is in this case and I would not allow myself to analyze it. Mining, however, is a crucial profession, beneficial to mankind. Miners and their work are providing vital raw materials and high added value. If the rules of the work are followed dangers are minimized. The basic rule to avoid buries is providing two lanes to access the place of work.  

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