19 Jun 2012
With some of the world´s most significant reserves of copper, lithium and other minerals, Chile's mines offer a fascinating window into one of the country´s most important industries.
Here, we explore some of our favorite mines to visit in Chile.
Located at an altitude of 3,100 meters and 170 km southeast of Antofagasta in northern Chile, the two open pits of this mine produce a variety of copper and copper-derived minerals. This complex boasts the greatest production of copper in the world. To request a tour, contact the mine´s Edificio Comunitario y Espacio Cultural.
Address: Avenida Bernardo O'Higgins N°1280, Antofagasta.
Telephone: +56 (55) 455000
The largest open pit copper mine in the world, the Chuquicamata mine has a well-established visitation system. Those interested in experiencing the sensation of standing on this 16-square-kilometer spiraling pit mine can contact Tour Chuquicamata, telephone: +56 (55) 32-2122, or email the mine tours via their webpage. Tours are available daily from Calama, and visitors can ask at the bus station or airport about joining a group heading to the mine.
El Chiflón del Diablo
Near the coastal city of Concepción, the historic coal mine of El Chiflón del Diablo in the town of Lota makes for a fascinating journey into a recent chapter of Chile´s mining history. Until 1997, the town of Lota was the most important center for the extraction of coal deposits in Chile. Mining began here in 1837, and true mining enthusiasts might find it hard to see everything this site has to offer in one visit.
The old mining town, with its neighborhoods and museum, and the descent into the old mine, El Chiflón del Diablo - named for the wind that whistles through its now-abandoned tunnels - will no doubt captivate visitors. For more information, contact Mina El Chiflón del Diablo.
Telephone: +56 (41) 287-1565
Address: Av. El Morro S/N (Lota Alto), Concepción.
Mina El Teniente
South of Santiago and east of Rancagua, the El Teniente mine represents another of Chile´s huge mining complexes. The largest underground copper mine in the world, El Teniente makes for a full-immersion visit, as visitors descend deep into the mine with guides.
A visit to El Teniente is not complete without a trip to the neighboring mining town of Sewell. A UNESCO world heritage site, the town offers visitors a chance to learn firsthand about the workings of a mining town by visiting its original constructions, many of which date back to the early 1900s. Contact the mine through their website for tour dates and availability.
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