The Dangerous Copper Mines In Chile | The Earth’s Riches | Spark

I have been within visual site of this GIGANTIC mine – largest copper mine in the World. You can smell it many kilometers away, it burns your eyes, it chokes your breathing 20 kilometers away, it is a giant ecological disaster in the making. The Atacama Desert is such a beautiful and amazing place – somewhere not to be missed in S.A. The mine is disgusting and foul and should not exist anymore! Needs to be stopped ASAP. Air, water, leeching and tailings are polluting the entire Southern Hemisphere.

Chile and Bolivia are the primary victims of massive mining in S.A. but there is also the enormous Gold Mine in the Sky in Ecuador too. 

From spaceships to mobile phones, metals are an integral part of the objects that make up the world around us and that we use in everyday life. The metal industry is a major component of the world economy, and mining takes place all over the world. Yet their extraction and refinement is still an arduous and dangerous process, not only for the workers but for the surrounding environment. Subscribe to Spark for more amazing science, tech and engineering videos –


  1. Thanks for the reminder that ITT owned the mines. I remembered that they were behind the coup, but despite the original intent of my blog, forgot the mining aspect until you jogged my memory. In the past so many of the mines were American, I’m not sure when it changed – possibly when the US Stock Exchange started requiring standards of proof, or when we started deindustrializing.

    “ALLENDE SCOFFS AT FUNDS FOR I.T.T. – The New York Times
    Apr 11, 1973 · A bill unanimously approved by the Chilean Congress in July, 1971, nationalized United States interests in five copper mines without compensation to Anaconda, Kennecott or the Cerro Corporation.”

    By the way, Russia may be absorbing Belarus – there are protests, which I forgot while absorbed in Latin America.

    • That is amazing and terrible about the smell. Sulfuric acid? One thing that I had learned is that the US insures many third world mining and other projects (and for instance Holtec storage project in Ukraine) against nationalization, war, etc. So, then the US has to pay the company back when nationalization occurs. So, if Russia took Ukraine then the US would have to pay Holtec back for its project. I think the US was going to have to pay back ITT too. But, if I recall, the line in that case wasn’t as straight as commonly thought – I would have to look it back up. I think that Allende was going to pay the money and they couped him out anyway.

      • I found this that I wrote six years ago with a link to the ITT report (if it still works):
        The coup against President Allende seems largely related to his expropriation of Chilean Copper mines, as well as of ITT. The latter was apparently a large donor to US President Nixon’s election campaign. And, at the time, there must surely have been some close relationship, such as interlocking directorates, between ITT whose phone lines would have required copper wire and the Copper Companies: Anaconda and Kennecott. Part, but seemingly not all, of the losses of expropriation would have been covered by the, at the time, newly formed Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). If OPIC now is said to be self-sustaining and even contributes to the US budget, at the time it apparently had “thin reserves” (Kantor et. al., 2011: Reports of OPIC determinations). Some hint was made by ITT about potential US liability via OPIC as a reason that the US should oppose Allende early on:

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