Hélène et Thomas Chassaing fr / en Menu


During our cycling trip in Chile, which took us from Santiago de Chile to San Pedro de Atacama, we were able to observe the extremely worrying nature of the "mega-drought" (1) that has been affecting this region of the world for the last ten years (see the report "Chile after the COP").

As we travelled all these kilometres (almost 2,000 in the end) we passed many mining concessions and saw many trucks transporting water (Agua industrial) for the mining industry.

This very important sector in the current Chilean economy is obviously even more difficult to document than intensive agriculture (see the report "Fences, Miradors, etc./Agriculture") which also consumes a lot of water. And we wondered for a long time how we were going to deal with this aspect of the problem. During the journey we met several people who work in the mining industry or who knew someone who does, and each time they were very sceptical about our chances of gaining access.

So it was with relief that we learned, about halfway through the trip, that the famous Chuquicamata mine was offering tours in Calama, in the Atacama Desert (the driest desert in the world, we were told everywhere).

The pictures presented here are from the two or three hours free bus tour organised by Codelco (Corporación Nacional del Cobre - National Copper Corporation), the Chilean state group that owns the mine. We were able to take part in this visit with a group of about thirty people.