Trucks at Chuquicamata, the world’s biggest open pit copper mine in Calama, Chile. Photo by Martchan/Shutterstock.com
At Codelco or the National Copper Corporation of Chile, approximately 3,000 workers have been infected with Coronavirus and El Teniente and Chuquicamata are the hardest hit regions with 1,044 and 636 cases, respectively. In June itself, unionized workers had reported the suspect deaths of 3 workers and had demanded a proper investigation. Codelco peacefully airbrushed these cases by saying that the workers contracted the virus from an outside area... copper output has increased during the pandemic.... Listed as the biggest company on the London Stock Exchange, Antofagasta PLC is notorious for its Los Pelambres copper mine in northern Chile where El Mauro dam, the largest tailing dam in Latin America, is situated. It is widely noted that tailing “dams frequently fail, releasing enormous quantities of tailings into river catchments. These accidents pose a serious threat to animal and human health and are of concern for extractive industries and the wider community.” The environmental impacts of tailing dam failures include contamination of water, soils and sediment. If the dam collapses the community will have 5 – 10 minutes to escape.