Pam & Louis' Empty Nest Chile Adventure travel blog

The really huge Escondida open pit Cu mine. Over 4 km long...

Standing in front of the mine over 3,100 metres above sea level

Today visited the really huge Escondida Mine, which means 'hidden' in Spanish. The mine is made up of several pits, the largest which is currently 4.0km x 2.5km x 600m deep and will continue to grow for several decades.

It is located 170 km southeast of Antofagasta in northern Chile. It is located 3,100m above sea level. A lot of people can feel the change in conditions and have symptoms of altitude sickness. For me it was a queasy stomach. I don't even like standing on a ladder.

The mine accounts for more than 25% of Chile's copper output, some people say more. If they go on strike for a day the world price of copper is affected. They move 450,000 tons of material every day. For that they have these huge trucks that can move 340tons in a shot.

There are over 9,000 people working at the mine of which there are 100 geologists. Went to the Mine's Casino today for lunch. For your info Casino also means cafeteria in Chile.

Supper tonight was another interesting experience. Chicken parmigiana should be straight forward. Not sure why they had to sandwich the chicken between a slice of steak and a slice of pork than fry it in bread crumbs.

Tonight is our last night in Antofagasta. Tomorrow night we are flying north east towards Calama. This is the jump off for our trip to San Pedro of Atacama

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