The All American effort!

Regarding the recent mine rescue in Chile, did you know:

More people watched the rescue of the miners that the arrival of the first American astronaut to the moon.

The guy that designed the rescue module was a NASA Engineer. NASA also provided medical and psychological counseling, along with special diets and also special suits used to keep blood pressure stable for the miners during their ascent to the surface.

The Drill was made by Schramm Inc. from Pennsylvania.

The Drill Bits were made by Center Rock, Inc. located in Berlin, Pennsylvania.

Moreover, the UPS Company took from Pennsylvania to Chile 13 tons of the drilling equipment in less than 48 hours without charging the Chilean government a single penny.

Sturge Taggart from the Atlas Copco Construction Mining Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, coordinated the use of equipments that operated with different specifications. Rescue workers in Chile had to make drilling equipment from different sources work together. Pressure specifications required for each piece of equipment were not the same. Taggart did some of the calculations to help solve that issue. His math played a role in making all the drilling equipment work together

Another American company donated to the 33 miners the special glasses (at a cost of $400 each) to avoid damage to the retina after coming to the light of day.

The Company Central California Video Engineering and Manufacturing Co. (CCV), a Fresno subsidiary of Wisconsin-based Aries Industries, designed a special camera that was lowered more than 2,200 feet underground to where the miners were sending back images of a miner staring wide-eyed into the lens, proving that they were still alive.

A company from Houston also had a central role in supplying specialized precision devices for three-axes orientation measurement employing optical gyros.

Drillers Supply International company whose owner had intimate ties with Chile where he had worked for 25 years; his company was the contract general for plan B perforation, the one that reached the miners.

Zephyr Technologies of Annapolis Maryland, sent monitors that transmitted reports on the vital signs of the miners to be used during their ascent to the surface.

The lead driller Jeff Hart and his team Fisher and Stefanic are from Denver, Colorado. They were on loan from the US Military in Afghanistan where they are drilling water wells for our Forward Operating Bases.

He spent the next 33 days on his feet, operating the drill that finally provided a way out the final day for 33 trapped miners.

“You have to feel through your feet what the drill is doing; it’s a vibration you get so that you know what’s happening,” explained Hart.

Hart was called in from Afghanistan, “simply because he’s the best” at drilling larger holes with the T130’s wide-diameter drill bits, Stefanic said.

Standing before the levers, pressure meters and gauges on the T130’s control panel, Hart and the rest of the team faced many challenges in drilling the shaft.

At one point, the drill struck a metal support beam in the poorly mapped mine, shattering its hammers. Fresh equipment had to be flown in from the United States and progress was delayed for days as powerful magnets were lowered to pull out the pieces.

The mine’s veins of gold and copper ran through quartzite with a high level of abrasive silica, rock so tough that it took all their expertise to keep the drill’s hammers from curving off in unwanted directions. “It was horrible,” said Center Rock President Brandon Fisher, exhausted after hardly sleeping during the effort.

Fisher, Stefanic and Hart called it the most difficult hole they had ever drilled, because of the lives at stake.

“If you’re drilling for oil and you lose the hole, it’s different. This time there’s people down below,” Stefanic said. “We ruined some bits, worked through the problems as a team, and broke through,” Hart said. “I’m very happy now.”

And as an example to the world, after working hard in the rescue for more than 30 days and crown it successfully, just like they arrived,  the Americans quietly left so not to steal the cameras for themselves and for Chileans to fully enjoy the glory of the historic rescue.




Kind Regards to Chile from a Dear Friend and Collegue in India

Honorable Kartar BhallaMy dear friend Kartar Bhalla, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Nauru in India and invaluable member of the World Federation of Consuls (FICAC), always has a way with words.  Chile thanks you, Honorable Consul Bhalla, and all of our friends around the world.

Honourable friend Paulina,

Words fail me to express my joy and extend my congratulations to you and the people of Chile on the most unprecedented rescue of 33 Chilean miners after 69 days.

Church  bells must have tolled, sirens must have  blared and millions in the world must have had  smiles on their faces as miner Florencio Avalos resurfaced after 69 days of living underground, winched up in a rescue capsule, and like clockwork, all the  remaining miners – 32 –  followed. TV and Internet audiences across the globe must have  remained glued, witnessing a human drama that surpassed anything the world had known in the recent past. What had the potential to turn into a tragic story became a moment of pride for Chile.

A cave-in on August 5 had left the miners trapped in a small copper-and-gold mine. The tremendous effort of the Chilean government, led by President Sebastian Pinera and Mining Minister Laurence Golborne, has been fruitful, first in locating the miners and then in coordinating an international rescue effort, which led to recovering them from the jaws of death. Contact with the outside world, established 17 days after the cave-in, too had a vital role to play in boosting their morale as well as providing them with material and emotional support.

This would be remembered as an unforgettebale  triumph of human spirit seen in the dramatic Chilean rescue effort.
Heartiest congratulations, Chile.

Kartar Bhalla



Monaco Prince’s Palace Invites Consul Biggs Sparkuhl to National Day Celebrations

National Day celebrations in MonacoThe Principality of Monaco has invited Consul Biggs Sparkuhl to its National Day Celebration in November of 2010.

The legendary 3-day event begins with a cocktail reception at the Palace, followed the next day by a traditional Mass at the Cathedral, and later the white-tie gala at the Grimaldi Forum.

Established by a Consul of Genoa centuries ago, the tiny Principality is one of the oldest and most successful examples of the power of diplomacy.   As North American Director of FICAC, Consul Biggs Sparkuhl has developed valued alliances with consuls in Monaco, and is looking forward to seeing all these friends on this auspicious occasion.

The Count, the Consuls and the Carmenere

Count Guido Roberto DeiroRecently Consul Paulina Biggs Sparkuhl was introduced by the Honorary Consul of the Principality of Monaco to Count Guido Deiro and his lovely wife, Countess Joan.

A legend in Las Vegas for many years, Count Deiro administered airports for Howard Hughes when Hughes also lived in Las Vegas, and is the best known local auctioneer for a generation.   The four discussed international affairs, arts, science and Las Vegas history.  Consul Biggs Sparkuhl took advantage of the occasion to introduce the Count and Countess to Chilean wine, bringing a special reserve 2005 Carmenere.  The four enjoyed a tremendous evening at Villa Kismet, the Count’s estate in Las Vegas.

“My appreciative thanks to Paulina for my first taste of Chilean wine. One does not usually open a gift and drink it immediately, but when I saw what it was there was no stopping me.”   –  Count Deiro

President Piñera Meets President Obama

Pinera and ObamaTHE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                 April 13, 2010
Read-out of President Obama’s discussion with President Sebastian Piñera of Chile
President Obama had the opportunity to engage with Chilean President Sebastian Piñera during the Global Nuclear Security Summit on a range of issues on the bilateral, hemispheric and global agendas.  The President thanked President Piñera for Chile’s recently completed removal of all highly enriched uranium (HEU) from Chile and commended Chilean leadership in promoting nuclear non-proliferation and for working with us to achieve a successful Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference next month. 
The Presidents agreed to work together to advance respect for shared values, including democratic governance, human rights, economic prosperity, and social inclusion throughout the Americas.  Finally, the President renewed the U.S. offer to support Chile’s ongoing recovery efforts following the February 27 earthquake should the Chilean government request further assistance.
NOTE:  President Barack Obama talks with President Sebastián Piñera of Chile during the working lunch at the Nuclear Security Summit at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., April 13, 2010.  (Credit:  Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)