SANTIAGO, June 12 (Reuters) - Two miners are missing after a small silver and gold mine owned by Mandalay Resources was flooded, the government said on Monday, adding that authorities are working with technical experts to see if the men have survived and can be rescued.
The workers were trapped after section two of the Delia mine, part of Mandalay’s Cerro Bayo complex in Chile’s southern Aysen region, was flooded on Friday.
The air force had provided a search robot and regional, national and emergency authorities were coordinating a response, the government said. Families and friends of the miners gathered outside the entrance to the mine, carrying Chilean flags and singing the national anthem.
In 2010, a mining accident in Copiapo, northern Chile, led to 33 miners being trapped underground for nearly 10 weeks before being rescued, an event that made world headlines.
Mining minister Aurora Williams said the search for the men, identified as Enrique Ojeda and Jorge Sanchez, was the company’s responsibility and “as a government we are deploying all specialist teams and technical resources to support that job.”
Williams said the chief operating officer of the Canadian-listed company, Dominic Duffy, met her in Santiago on Monday.
“We are profoundly saddened by this unexpected event even as we focus our resources on search and rescue,” Mandalay chief executive Mark Sander said in a statement.
Sander said flooding had impeded rescue efforts. As with the Copiapo collapse, the mine does have an emergency shelter.
On Monday night the rescue teams would start drilling to reach the level where the two men were believed to be working, government mining security engineer Ricardo Berrios said. (Reporting by Rosalba O’Brien and Reuters TV; editing by Grant McCool)