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As Chile celebrates, mine's future in question

Oct 14, 2010 8:40:00 AM - thestate.com
Chileans reveled Thursday in the stunning glory and jubilation of a record-setting mine rescue. As the celebration fades, however, several key questions await resolution.

Officials at the copper and gold mine whose collapse trapped the 33 men for more than two months still have to answer why it was allowed to operate at all.

Attention will also focus in coming days on the rescued miners themselves, their emotional scars must be tended - and, eventually, it remains to be seen how many will want to return the underground profession that nearly killed them.

President Sebastian Pinera seemed unequivocal after Wednesday's rescue about the fate of the San Jose mine.

"This mine will definitely never open again," he said after a dizzying day in which the miners were pulled up through a narrow escape chute from nearly a half-mile down in under 23 hours - far less than originally forecast.

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