San Jose Mine (Los 33), Copiapo

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#11 of 16 in Things to do in Copiapo
The San José Mine is a small copper-gold mine located near Copiapó, Atacama Region, Chile. The mine became known internationally for its collapse in 2010, which trapped 33 miners 700m underground. Its workings are reached by a long sloping roadway with many spiral turns, not by a vertical mineshaft.HistoryThe San José Mine is located 45 kilometers northwest of Copiapó. The mine began operations in 1889. In 1957, Jorge Kemeny Letay, a Hungarian immigrant founded the San Esteban Mining Company (Compañía Minera San Esteban).According to Terra, the mine's annual sales surpassed 20 million dollars.Between 2003 and 2010, several mining accidents occurred in the mine, causing at least three deaths. In 2007, a geologist was killed in the mine, and led to its closure. It was reopened in May 2008 by SERNAGEOMIN – Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (National Geology and Mining Service). In July 2010, miner Gino Cortés lost one of his legs in an accident.2010 accidentCompañía Minera San Esteban advised national authorities on 5 August 2010 that a collapse had occurred at 14:00 local time, and rescue efforts began the next day. National Emergencies Office of Chile reported that day a list of 33 trapped and possibly deceased miners, that included Franklin Lobos, a retired footballer, and Carlos Mamani, a Bolivian miner. The miners were found alive 17 days later, on August 22. Nonetheless, it was not until 69 days after the collapse on October 13, 2010, that the first miner, Florencio Ávalos, was rescued.
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San Jose Mine (Los 33) Reviews
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  • We were going to be excited to know the place of the great rescue. In the Copiapó Sernatur Office told us that it worked Thursday to Sunday and there was a miner than toward the tour. We arrived there and we find a caregiver did not know practically nothing of the place or rescue (okay, not was in charge) and the miner was not... never actually arrived. Bone tour depends on whether this or not the miner that makes it :( To miss the trip, we went to visit a visitor centre that there is in place with a chronology of the rescue. Still worth it to see the "scene" from a distance, but only see it, since if there is no guide, you can not get to visit the important points. A shame that not connected the Sernatur with the caretaker of the place, as to inform tourists will tour or not. Little tourist development of the place.
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  • very nice history having this place, but this sadness in the air to see all those things that they spent the 33 but worth the watch and relive the moment
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  • Visited was a visit that came out while the desert. There are fed up information on the Internet, the path is Earth, but very good, very near English Bay (40 km approx.). Very good facilities, the guide is Jorge Galleguillos (one of the miners), very friendly and answers to all your questions. Recommendation: do not ask him if he is one of the miners, the during the tour they are say. The value of the tour is $5,000 per person. Return did it by Copiapo which as 50 km. recommended for those who saw the rescue on TV is very exciting and see the place where everything happened.
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Where to stay in Copiapo

The most popular places to stay are just north of Copayapu/Route 5, with the rest of the town primarily residential. The town's pretty boutique hotels offer private pools and gardens, while simple, family-run guesthouses provide fewer frills but charge considerably less. If you're planning to use the town as a base for desert explorations, consider staying in a rented apartment.
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