Irish firm 'over moon' at key role
CELEBRATIONS were under way last night at the headquarters of an Irish company that designed and manufactured the drill that secured access to the 33 Chilean miners.
Employees at Clare-based company Mincon were toasting the rescued workers last night after their drill first broke through to the trapped miners in August.
Technical director of Mincon, Joe Purcell, said all at the Shannon firm were "delighted and over the moon".
"The lads here have been watching the updates and live footage streamed on the internet so there is not a whole lot of work being done, but we'll allow them that today," Mr Purcell said.
"It was our drill that first got through to the miners, but it really was a team effort with everyone else working there."
The reverse-circulation drill, designed from hardened steel and tungsten carbide, bored a hole 14cm wide that became the lifeline to the men.
The initial breakthrough was made last August, enabling the transfer of supplies ever since. The hole was widened in the following weeks, allowing some of the workers to be freed yesterday.
"You'd be a bit nervous when they are drilling a hole like that.
"There were some sleepless nights when that was going on, but it is great how everything has worked out. We are over the moon here," Mr Purcell said.
Mincon also has plants in Australia and the US and employs 130 people. It was founded by Joe's father, Paddy Purcell, in 1977.