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Mining 1830 - 1920
W. Griem, 2021
Photo of a gold mine in the Co. Monardes area around 1990, mined at a
depth of about 100 metres. Gold-bearing rock (80 g/tonne) was mined. The
"veta" (= vein) was about 40 cm wide. (Photo: Wolfgang
Ladder in a small mine in Atacama, Chile
Small-scale mining in the Atacama is deeply embedded in the culture of North Chile. Many companies have been working for centuries, but are heavily dependent on raw material prices.
Many of the small and
micro-companies mine projects soon reached a considerable depth,
as they were often historically known mines. The veins can
contain from 80 to 200 g/tonne gold in their best ranges. The
rock was lifted up to the surface by simple winches. In some
cases, the gold content of the material was checked on site and
later transported by small trucks to the next processing plant.
Of course, these mines did not always comply with the applicable
safety standards. Serious accidents often occurred. The economic
situation of the Pirquineros (miners in small-scale mining)
naturally also depended directly on raw material prices. In many
mines, for example, mining was only carried out in phases.
However, at depths of more than 200 m and sinking ore production
was mostly stopped completely quickly.
Today, there are three types of mining operations in Atacama: The micro-enterprises which use simple aids to exploit corridor-shaped deposits. Two to eight miners often work in the deep, inadequately secured galleries.
Medium-sized mining companies employ considerably more people (around 200 or more per mine); the operations are often well equipped, with a not quite modern technology.
The large companies (1000 employees and more) work according to international safety standards with an absolutely modern technology.
Mining in Atacama:
Mining and Mines
► Introduction Atacama mining
Mining from 1830 to 1920
List of mine districts
Lomas Bayas district
Inca de Oro district
Puquios - Carrera Pinto
Cachiyuyo de Llampos district
más lugares ...
History of Mining: Illustrations
1867/69: Louis Simonin
1873: Lottner & Serlo
Railroad history of Atacama
History of Atacama
Mining history of Atacama
Climate of the Atacama Region
Beaches of Atacama
The Andes mountains
Rutas de Atacama
Aeródromos en Atacama
Literature and links:
List of books
SIMONIN, L. (1869): Underground life, Mines y Miners. - 522 pages, Translated by H.W. Bristol; London; Chapman & Hall; 1869. (Collection W. Griem)
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