What visitors are told as they go on the tour around the small mining town of Chuquicamata, before approaching the largest open pit mine in the world, turns out to be quite strange. As visitors drive or walk around, they can notice at first sight huge mountains “built” by man where the remains of dirt from which mineral has already been extracted are deposited. Hundreds of trucks throw more and more dirt into these artificial mountains of several colors but identical in shape which keep growing both in height and length. The truth is that this cannot be avoided in the copper industry. What is extracted from these large mines, in this case Chuquicamata (there are other similar cases), sometimes leads to moving the very mining campsites.
The problem arose because the Chuquicamata campsite became a mining city which the mine began to eat slowly a few years before, only to leave it definitely buried underground.
It was hard, especially for all those nostalgic people who got used to the small main square, its church, its school, the hospital, the municipal theater, the football stadium or the menu of the day at the Club Social de Empleados dining room.
Thus, slowly and steadily, Chuquicamata is moving the vestiges of its mining spirit to the modern City of Calama. Very soon, the mountains will hide the countless stories and anecdotes of what the city once was.
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