Alta. driller lends rig to Chile mine rescue

Precision Drilling Corporation, a Calgary-based company, is helping with efforts to free 33 Chilean miners trapped underground.

A Calgary-based drilling company is aiding efforts to free Chilean miners trapped underground for nearly five weeks.

One of Precision Drilling Corporation's rigs has been transported by about 40 trucks to the site where 33 men have been trapped in a collapsed mine.

Rig 421, manufactured by Texas-based National Oilwell Varco, was already in storage in the South American nation.

Company president and CEO Kevin Neveu said the rescue operation is being led by the Chilean government, but that his company is pleased to be able to help with such an important job.

As part of the so-called Plan C rescue effort, the rig will bore down some 600 metres to try to reach the men, Chilean officials said.

Rig 421 is capable of drilling down about 20 to 40 metres a day.

The work could start in a little more than a week.

The miners have already been told they might not be freed until Christmas, but the rig could help speed up the rescue effort.

Precision Drilling is a 50-year-old company that claims to be one of the biggest oilfield services companies in North America. It owns and operates about 350 rigs.