After the heavy rainfalls in the Atacama region destroyed roads and power lines around our Maricunga mine in March, it fell to Pablo Asiain, Operations Manager to coordinate efforts to get 564 trapped Kinross employees back home to their families (200 km) away through difficult mountain terrain.
It was no easy task. The main road between Maricunga and Copiapó, the closest city, was washed out and the Chilean army had commandeered all helicopters in the disaster zone, making it difficult to survey the remote area. Pablo, together with other members of the Mining and Exploration team, would drive out on large trucks for over 12 hours at a time in search of alternative routes down from Maricunga, located high atop the Andes at some 4,500 metres, to the valley below. The team was eventually successful – locating and clearing a road nine days after the torrential downpour, employees were transported home.
In recognition of his leadership during the crisis, Pablo was awarded the prestigious Coresemin Atacama award for safety in mining. The highly respected award is selected by the Atacama Safety Mining Regional Committee, which promotes risk prevention and safety in the workplace.
The awards ceremony was held earlier this month at the 33rd annual ‘Noche de la Minería’ (mining night) dinner, a large celebration of mining in the Atacama. This year was particularly meaningful after the severe weather event wiped out infrastructure in the region and left many people homeless.
“There are many people behind this award. It is a huge team effort at Maricunga. We are all committed to peoples’ health and safety,” said Pablo.
The Chilean Minister of Mining, Aurora Williams, also attended the awards ceremony and spoke about the Maricunga team. “In adversity, they showed remarkable strength and courage.”
Cristhian Staeding, Human Resources Director and Bruce Thiecking, General Manager with Pablo Asiain, Operations Manager (centre)