SANTIAGO - ONE week after being hoisted from the depths of a collapsed mine in Chile, the 33 rescued workers say they are fed up with celebrity, the media scrum and even the promise of untold riches from book contracts and movie deals.

The miners say they want their old lives back. 'Sometimes, I think it was much better inside the mine,' said Omar Reygadas, 56, who scarcely a week ago was being pulled above ground after 69 days entombed in the underground cavern.

Mr Reygadas said in an interview with the daily El Mercurio newspaper that the week-long media frenzy surrounding his rescue has proved almost more than he can bear. 'This whole situation has made me made me jittery; I can't sleep very well,' he said.

The miners, humble day labourers who earned their living by the sweat of their brow, last week became unlikely rock stars, after surviving a harrowing ordeal 700m deep underground at the San Jose gold and copper mine. Hundreds of journalists from every corner of the globe descended upon Chile to document their amazing tale of survival against the odds, after they originally were given up for dead in the Aug 5 cave-in.

Since their dramatic rescue, every step of the men's lives has been painstakingly documented, including the tearful reunions with anxious loved ones and the first days in their humble dwellings after being taken home. The men said that being sequestered in close quarters within the mine was hard, but not nearly as challenging as the constant glare of television lights and relentless public scrutiny.

'I'm extremely exhausted from being besieged by the press, tired of all the events and appointments with officials,' said Mario Gomez, at 63 years old the eminence grise of the group. 'I hope that all of this quiets down pretty soon,' he said.

Miners fed up with fame