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Mining history of the Atacama Region, Chile

The ruins of the Labrar Smelter (1)

Museo Virtual, Atacama
W. Griem, 2017
The ruins of the Labrador smelter in the Atacama Desert, Chile

Photo: View of the chimneys of Labrar with a large slag field in the foreground in the region of Atacama (Chile). (Photo W. Griem; 2006; Kodak10606) -  (Foto W. Griem; 2006; Kodak10606) - Photo in large size

Information photo: Camera Kodak DX6490 (100_0606)
Focal length: 31.3mm (=189/35mm) | Shutter speed: 1:180
F: f/3.2 | Original size: 2304 x 1728 | Date of recording: 2006/10/07/18:20 hrs.

Chimneys from Labrar: p.1 | p.2

español / deutsch / english

Labrar was an important industrial complex for the region. In 1830 Carlos Lambert had a copper smelting plant built in this area (other sources indicate the year 1846). Even today, three of these chimneys are still standing vertically in the landscape. They were built of English clinker and are 18 metres high.
In general, the furnaces were fired with wood or Australian coal. The port was the "Puerto Peña Blanca"16 kilometres away. In general it is described that the furnaces were in operation until about 1895, but in the "Estadística Minera" from 1903 it is reported that at least one furnace is still in operation and that two more have not been used for a long time.

There are still a lot of slag in the area today. As an example: In 1903,4,450 tons of copper ore were melted at an average concentration of 14.6%. Approximately 3,000 tons of coal were burned.
In the years 1906 and 1907 a melt with a chimney of 54 feet height (16,5m) is reported. The tenant, Mr. Marambio had his contract expired in 1908 to build a new smelting plant several kilometres away. (Yunge, G. 1909)

Information:
Location: Labrar, Atacama region
Comuna Freirina, Provincia Huasco
Height 635m
Location (UTM): E281.000 / N68.20.163
beeline to Freirina: 29,5 km
Street-kilometre to Freirina: 45,6 km

 Mapa de la ubicación de Labrar, Región de Atacama, Chile

Chimneys are the most striking witnesses of industrial development, especially in heavy industry. Labrar is one of the few areas where these silent witnesses are still imposingly defying erosion. One should imagine that large areas of the Atacama region used to look like this. Large groups of chimneys with adjoining huts, for example in Tierra Amarilla, Caldera, Yerba Buena, Astillas and many other places. This and the other villages were marked by their active heavy industry, where today the silence of the desert has returned.

The area is a cultural monument! It is forbidden to take any objects with you.

Atacama virtual
Mining Atacama

Atacama Mining history

Introduction to Labrar
Observation platform (km 6,6)
Totora Pass (km 16,9)
Sauce Perez (km 22,8)
Loma Suelta (km 24,0)
Arco Molle Pass (km 32,5)
Fraguita (km 35,1)
Kobaltminen (km 39,3)
Friedhof (km 41,4)
Quebradita (km 44,2)
Labrar smelter (km 45,6)

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Smelter Chimney stack of Labrar, Atacama desert, Chile

Photo: Chimney of the former copper smelting plant "Labrar" (region Atacama - Chile). (Photo W. Griem; 2006; K 10553)
Large photo

Information photo: Camera Kodak DX6490 (100_0553)
Focal length: 8.5mm (=51/35mm) | Shutter speed: 1:350
F: f/6.3 | Original size: 2304 x 1728 | Date of recording: 2006/10/07/17:33 hrs.

Minas de Cobalto, Region de Atacama Loma Suelta, Region de Atacama Sauce Perez, Region de Atacama Quebradita, Region de Atacama Cementerio Quebradita, Region de Atacama Caleta de Cobre, Region de Atacama Carta del sector Labrar

Literature:
• Yunge, G.
(1905): Estadística Minera de Chile 1903. - Sociedad Nacional de Minería  Vol.3; Imprenta y Litografía "Universo".
• Yunge, G. (1909): Estadística Minera de Chile 1906 - 1907. - Sociedad Nacional de Minería  Vol.3; Imprenta y Litografía "Universo".
• Yunge, G. (1910): Estadística Minera de Chile 1908 - 1909. - Sociedad Nacional de Minería  Vol.4; Imprenta y Litografía "Universo".
Translation: Pre-Translated with www. DeepL.com/Translator.

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© Dr. Wolfgang Griem, Chile - all rights reserved  (Mail a Wolfgang Griem Uso de las páginas de geovirtual.cl y geovirtual2.cl)
Published: 19.9.2005, updated: 19.9.2017, 23.12.2017
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