San Jose Mine (Los 33), Copiapo

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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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  • August 12, 2017
    As usually happens in Chile, tourism authorities are not capable of giving a seal and an orientation both historical, as reivindicatoria, or less tourist to a fact which achieved worldwide notoriety and that in one way or another, form part of the recent history of Chile... Good approach road up to the entrance to the mine, where everything is diluted, in a reminder monolith, a couple of posters without sense and a few flags flying that they fail to form a "something" that gives meaning to the great story that was forged here... For a change, a big loss of interest and identity to generate something that gives meaning to the historical fact in itself, as to the claim of the mining work... Responsible people who do not their sticks... Unfortunate
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  • June 23, 2017
    Apparently, the "guide" supposed to be there from Thursday to Sunday, is not very present. After an hour's drive, we were very happy to arrive at the San Jose mine. There, a guard told us that the guide had to go to a meeting and that we could go up to the mirador. Yet, in the city of Copiapo, a manager of the regional Museum told us there will be a guide on site. So we could see by far the site, so that we could see it up close... Disappointed by the lack of organization and communication (no website).
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  • June 5, 2017
    In June 2017, on Sunday (one of the open days) we find a guard and a tour guide. In other comments of TripAdvisor says that there is one of the 33 miners explaining the site: now is no longer so. The guard calls "a voluntary tip" before opening the door to the venue. The tour said that worth 5000 CLP per person. The guard and guide arrived 30 minutes after the time had to come. The "tour guide" did not make the tour why van did not work and we could not travel facilities. Instead he opened a few panels of information and video that were well. The site needs more organization and resources which have to be well explored.
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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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