Type of Mine: Copper, Gold

Location: Chile

Built: 1882

When speaking about volume there is none larger than the Chuquicamata (Chuqui) mine in northern Chile.  Under state ownership since the Chilean nationalization of copper in the early 1970’s, Chuqui has grown to become 4.3km long, 3km wide and 900 meters deep.

For a brief period Chuqui had the largest annual production, largest smelter and largest electrolytic refinery until Escondida completed in 2002.  Evidently the area has been in use for centuries; in 1899, 17 years after the mine opened, a ‘copper man’, dating back before 500 A.D., was found in a collapsed makeshift mine.

Image courtesy of Till Niermann, Panorama of Chuquicamata copper mine; 11 September 2008

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