Friday, July 17, 2009

How many MBA Students does it take to mine for copper?

Eight students and one SUNY Albany administrator toured the El Teniente Copper Mine and Sewell Village. It was an exciting day as we learned much about the process to extract copper from the rocks located high in the Andes mountains.

Our adventure started with a cab ride to a local mall, where we picked up the bus for the 1 hour drive south of Santiago to Rancagua. We traveled another 40 km to the east for a guided tour (in Spanish & English) of Sewell Village, (elevation: 7500ft) in the Andes.

We were then outfitted with the appropriate safety gear (hard hat, safety goggles, respirator, boots, jacket and headlight) for our journey into the mine. The tour was a fantastic experience, eating along side miners for lunch in Sewell and then meeting with one of the workers in the mine, operating the "crusher" machine, which was demonstrated for us while we all stood in amazement on a catwalk high above the crashing boulders, hoping not to drop our cameras or any MBA cohorts.

Click on the video link below to see some of the highlights of our day-long tour.  
Note:  The beginning of the video is in the dark, however there IS light at the end of the tunnel.

Mining at El Teniente is reported to have started as early as 1819. Kennecott Copper Corporation under a subsidiary company up until the Chilean nationalization of copper and the formation of the state owned copper mining company Codelco who currently operates the mine. It is reported as "the worlds biggest underground copper mine", and is the largest of Codelco's operations.

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