PATRIMONIAL MINING ROUTE
3 days / 2 nights
Price per person: From $ 220,000 per person based on 4 people. From Caldera it has an extra cost.
Hours: 07:30 to 18:30.
Places: El Morado, Quebraditas, Las Cobalteras, Labrar, Freirina, LLanos de Challe National Park, Capote, Rock Art and Carrizal Bajo.
Includes: tickets to the park, pickup at the hotel, emergency kit, shared transportation, guide, hydration, stays and meals.
What to bring: warm clothes, comfortable shoes, hat, swimsuit, towel, sunglasses and sunscreen.
Not allowed for pregnant women.
Minimum age required of 11 years.
Cancellation policy: 48 hours.
The abandoned town "El Morado" is some 43 kilometers to the west of Domeyko. In the town, houses are still almost intact. A large number of the constructions are made of adobe and brick. Some only made of stone or pure wood.
It is striking that El Morado (it was not a very big town, but not too small), does not appear in many historical charts. The statistics name for the year 1895 only 295 inhabitants.
Thus El Morado is completely missing from the 1919 map. On maps from the 1950s onwards it is incorporated.
In 1952 mining activities intensified. In the mines and the people life again entered. With more modern mining technology and a mineral concentration plant, they worked until the end of 1973.
Quebradita was a town with some businesses, a post office, and a school. Its best period was from 1860. In 1956 and 1957 the surrounding mines were completely abandoned due to the low price of copper.
There are still some houses. Impressive is the old school - built on a steep slope - a two story house that really has an unreal look - displaced. A typical urban building in the middle of the desert.
The most important mines in the sector were "Quebradita" and "Socavón". The last one had a depth of 430 meters in 1908, serious difficulties with water intake are reported ( Yunge, 1910 ). The vein deposits were around 1.50 m to 4 m thick in some parts. The sulfides appeared in a depth of 40 meters. The mines had a good number of personnel (115 people worked at the Socavón mine in 1908). The copper grade was around 16% - the mine shows a certain degree of technification: boilers, steam engines, Siemens electric drills and "Otto" engine. But we also worked with blood winches.
In this sector there are cobalt deposits of considerable dimensions. Currently (2006) there are no mining activities. Extensive mining plants cover an entire hill.
Cobalt mining in the Atacama was quite difficult and generally does not show continuity over the decades. Cobalt is not very common in Atacama (Freirina and Cobriza de Molle are exceptions). The deposits are of the vein type, they had in the beginning (1903) a grade between 3 to 8% cobalt. Yunge (1905) reports that cobalt mining was very difficult for two reasons: daily fluctuation of prices and geology, especially the tectonics of the veins, was quite complex.
According to Yunge (1905) the Freirina Department produced almost 18 tons of fine cobalt during the year 1903.
The sector, especially the plant show high rates of radiation.
Labrar was an industrial complex of high importance. In 1830 Carlos Lambert built in this place a copper foundry with reverberatory furnaces (other sources mention 1846!). You can still visit three chimneys from this ancient foundry. They were built with refractory bricks from England, the height of the chimneys reaches 18 meters.
Generally speaking of the years around 1895 when the ovens were turned off and the chimneys were left unused. But in the "Mining Statistics" of 1903 two reverberatory furnaces are mentioned still in use (this technology was already obsolete due to the high consumption of fuel). The same statistic tells us that two ovens have been in disuse for many times.
This mining center was exploited by the Diaguitas , and later by the Inca Empire, those who arrived in the Huasco area around 1400 in search of gold for their empire. Other sources even point to the Mapuche Quechumanke as its discoverer. Later in 1699, it was rediscovered by a Spaniard named Robles. Under the name of Real Minas de Santa Rosa, alluding to the old name of Freirina, it delivered a wealth of importance for the time.
In 1932, the Callejas Zamora de Freirina family, led by their patriarch Paulino Callejas, discovered rich veins of gold in Capote, whose boom continued until the early 1960s. This family built modern mineral treatment facilities, with more than 1,000 workers, for which the Capote Aurifero company built houses, social and sports centers, school, theater, grocery store, office, administration, etc. According to some historians, this mineral had more than 7,000 inhabitants.
Despite the Capote boom, the mineral was not always going to generate the expected profits. This is because between the 1950s and 1960s the veins were depleted and the works closed, causing an entire town to begin to emigrate.
Carrizal Alto (Atacama Region, Chile) was one of the most important mining sectors in the Atacama Region. Located between Copiapó and Vallenar, some 30 kilometers to the east of Carrizal Bajo. Today only remains of this emblematic town remain. The great cemetery still resists but the time and years of neglect are already noticeable.
Carrizal Alto copper ore was discovered at the end of the 18th century by an indigenous person called Quinchomanque.
The Crimean War in Russia brought the reduction of the Russian copper mines, which benefited the production of Carrizal Alto between the years 1854 and 1855 when its exploitation flourished.
In 1865 the telegraph line between Chañarcillo and Carrizal Alto was built. There was a theater (with 500 seats), a hospital, a church and a number of shops, barracks, butchers, a printing press, restaurants and hotels. Historian Luis Joaquín Morales describes Carrizal Alto as a pleasant city - open to progress.
1878 was the year with the largest production of fine copper ever in this district: 3,614,872 kg.
In 1899, it had a postal service, a telegraph, a civil registry, a church, a good hospital, free schools and a railway station, among others.
Outstanding character: Mariano Avellana Lasierra, parish priest of Carrizal Alto. He dedicated himself to a profound pastoral activity among the poorest families and the copper miners.