Sewell (Mining city)

Sewell in Chile

Sewell in Chile

By almost a century, Sewell was the main camping of The Lieutenant (El Teniente) – the underground greater copper mine of the world -, mining company installed by Braden Copper Company, between 1905 and 1906. Sewell is located 37,2 miles from Rancagua and 6,988 feet of altitude in the middle of an imposing mountain range landscape.
With its singular form, Sewell gradually went transforming into a city of more than 15 thousand inhabitants.
At the present time, Sewell is an ex- camping, that subsists as an industrial area of the Division The Lieutenant (El Teniente), lodging a mineral Concentrator, its administrative offices and, of course, the beautiful civic, to live in buildings and of services that turn to Sewell a “typical and colorful zone”. This because the spectacular ex camping Sewell, with the auspice of Corporation of Copper (Codelco Chile), has been declared National Monument in the category Typical and Colorful Zone of the Sixth Region and postulates to being recognized by UNESCO as Patrimony of the Humanity.

The mining city of Sewell in Chile

The mining city of Sewell in Chile

History
April 29 of 1905, a decree of the Ministry of Property authorized the installation in Chile of the North American company Braden Copper Company, to be in charge to operate the deposit The Lieutenant (El Teniente), that remained left since the end of century XIX.
In that scene, Braden Copper undertook a planned work set, beginning to construct a way of carts – and soon a train as a transportation tool -; to qualify a commercial office in Barns (Graneros) and warehouses in The Company (La Compañía); to reopen the extraction of the Mine; to build a concentrator and rooms for campings; to establish an industrial park (patio) in Rancagua, and to contract workers, among others.
In addition to some small campings created near primitive veins to explode, between 1905 and 1906, in the slope of the mountain next to the Mine, a “beneficiary establishment of minerals” was constructed, integrated by a plant of concentration or mill, with capacity to deal with 250 tons of mineral daily that were carried by a “aerial street car” from the deposit, and a “dynamo” that provided the electrical energy.
With the years, the camping and its facilities progressed as increased the production of copper, happening to constitute a city. More than a territorial expansion, the urban structure of Sewell characterized by the density and growth in height, with buildings that were not exempts of accidents and destructions by the climatic and topographic conditions of the place.
In the 1960’s Sewell it got to lodge more than 16,000 inhabitants and one complete infrastructure of services, such as hospital, school, court, mail, theater, casino, swimming pool, and skating field, among others.

Old houses located in Sewell

Old houses located in Sewell

Present state
At the present time, Sewell is a work area where still remains in operations the Concentrator of the same name and few industrial facilities, and to which is acceded in vehicle by a section of the Highway The Copper (La Carretera El Cobre). In the camping still remain about 50 original buildings, which are being recovered to welcome the visit of the public. In the meantime, in December of 2002 the first stage of the Museum of the Great Mining of Copper (El Museo de la gran Minería del Cobre) was inaugurated.

Next to the Arsenal of Trains (Maestranza de Trenes) and the ex- Industrial School (Escuela Industrial) was turned in the Museum of the Great Mining of Copper (Museo de la gran Minería del Cobre), with a sample of the history of the camping and the mining of copper in general. The access to the camping is only authorized in organized tours.
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