Chuquicamata Mine

Chuquicamata is one of the world's largest open pit copper mines. Since 2017 Laddertube has helped the transition into a modern underground operation.

The Safescape team installs Laddertube in the new underground mine and Chuqui.

The Situation

Chuquicamata is the world's largest open pit copper mine by volume. The site is located in the north of Chile, just outside Calama and has been actively mined for over a century. Mining of brochantite veins started in 1879 but the storied history of the Chuquicamata site goes much further back, with evidence of ancient mines datis as far back as 550 AD.

The Solution

In 2017 the first Laddertube installations and training were undertaken as Chuqui (as it is commonly known) prepared to wind down surface mining. This comprised two surface-down Laddertube installations and two underground raisebore rises of Laddertube.

Training consisted of two teams, with both completing an underground and surface installation. Both team leaders were involved in all four installations, thus enabling them to be signed off and able to continue Safescape installations without the required Safescape installers.

The Outcome

By 2019 Chuquicamata had began to ramp down production in the open pit to make the shift to a hightech underground mine operation, transforming the century old open pit mine into a modern large scale underground operation using the block caving method. This much-needed transition will extend the life of the division by at least 40 years.  

Currently the total length of Laddertube escapeway installed at Chuqui is just short of 1km.

Project Summary
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South America
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Laddertube has been instrumental in providing a safe escapeway system for Chuqui's transition to a fully-fledged underground operation.

Steve Durkin
Safescape Founder and Managing Director
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