The target date to begin rescuing the 33 miners trapped in Chile is still Wednesday, but the start of the operation could slide into early Thursday, Chilean Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said Monday.
Tests of the hole through which rescuers hope to hoist 33 miners trapped nearly a mile below the surface of the Earth have proved "very promising, very positive," he said Monday. "Not even dust fell inside."
"We are extraordinarily content," Minister of Health Jaime Manalich said.
His prediction came shortly after workers cheering "Viva Chile" completed the installation of steel tubing to reinforce the path that rescuers plan to use to hoist the trapped miners to the surface.
About 96 meters of sheet metal has been put in place to line the tunnel that was bored 2,300-feet deep, according to Jeff Hart, operations manager for Layne Christensen Co., who has been in Chile advising workers on the drilling and casing operations.