13 October 2010

Bob Haldeman Interview (3)

Swent: Where were you in the mine at that time? 

Haldeman: We were way back in there, just like the square wheel that is 
undercutting directly on top of timber, heavy ground. We had 
quite a big labor force, about three or four thousand 
underground alone. After we modified the mining system, putting 
a solid block in between the undercut level and the draw level 
and ran finger raises up through it, a different type of mining, 
we cut the labor force down to maybe a thousand or nine hundred, 
about 25 percent of what it had been before. There you didn't 
have all of this heavy timberwork and maintenance and the likes. 

Swent: What kind of machinery were you using? 

Haldeman: Oh, just standard stopers. They didn't even have the jacklegs 
then; you just took the hand drills and held them up yourself. 
The jackleg came in later on. 

Swent: The equipment was mechanized, though? 

Haldeman: Oh, yes, we had air and all that. But ventilation-forget it. 
When I was in there they had dry drilling in half of the mine, 
and I have partial silicosis from that. We were a highly 
silicotic mine, if you want to put it that way. As time went on 
we had modern safety measures put in. The Chilean legislators 
started putting heavy fines on industrial illnesses, sicknesses, 
and diseases, including silicosis, and management perked up and 
started to clean up the air. 

Sewell in winter: 

Swent: When did that happen? Haldeman: It was gradual, and maybe the mine fire precipitated a lot of it.

Swent: Ventilation particularly. 

Haldeman: Yes, absolutely. That's about the time it started to take off. 

I would say we went to wet drilling at the time of the mine fire. 

Swent: That was in 1945. 

Haldeman: Yes

Index to Haldeman Interview 

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