Minera Escondida

La Escondida Mine

Useful Information

Location: In the Atacama Desert, 170 km southeast of Antofagasta, northern Chile.
(-24.271620, -69.071108)
Open: by appointment [2007]
Classification: MineCopper Mine
Light: n/a.
Dimension: A=3050 m asl.
Guided tours:
Address: Corporate Affairs Manager, Minera Escondida Limitada, Avenida de la Minería N° 501, Antofagasta, Fax: 55-243520, E-mail: contact
Minera Escondida Antofagasta, Avda. de la Minería 501 (Casilla 690), Antofagasta, Tel: 5655-247-935, Fax: 5655-247-545.
Minera Escondida Santiago, Avda. Americo Vespucio Sur 100 Piso 9, Las Condes, Clasificador 11 Correo 10, Santiago, Tel: 562-330-5000, Fax: (562-207-6520.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.



The deposit is a very low grade ore with a concentration of 1.3% copper It is profitable becaus of the extreme amount of material which is very easily mined and processed. The mine has reserves of 2,100 million tons of ore which will be mined after six years at the current speed.


Minera Escondida is a huge open pit mine located in the Atacama desert. With the processing of 350 million tons of rocks per year and an annual production of 80,000 tons of refined copper, it is the biggest copper mine in the world representing 8% of all world production. The open cast mine is the 3rd Biggest Man Made Hole On Earth.

Escondida produces copper concentrate by means of a flotation process of sulphide ore and copper cathodes using a leaching process of oxide ore.

There is a viewpoint with display panels and leaflets providing information about the operations of the Escondida Mine. There are also tours into the mine, a sort of programmed visits. However, the mine is extremely remote, and it is visited only by few tour operator. In order to see it, a guided tour organized by a university or geologic institution might be the best thing. For a visit a request letter must be sent to the Corporate Affairs Manager at Antofagasta, at least one month in advance, which explains the reason for the visit and includes the names and ID numbers of the visitors. Visitors must be at least 14 years old and in good health, because of the big altitude.