Chile's production of cooper -- which accounts for eighty per cent of the country's export earnings -- rose to 616,000 metric tons in 1973.
GV EXTERIOR Copper mine (2 shots)
SV PAN Miner walks to face and starts drilling
CU Miner drilling
SCU Copper ore ejected from face
SV Miner breaks up ore with hammer
GV EXT Ore loaded into trucks (2 shots)
SV PAN Train taking ore to smelters
SV INT Smelting plant
SCU Molten ore flowing through channels
SV Workers remove molten ore in crucible
SV Finished bars of cooper heaped up
Initials BB/2307 JT/JB/BB/2327
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Background: Chile's production of cooper -- which accounts for eighty per cent of the country's export earnings -- rose to 616,000 metric tons in 1973. This is an increase of 23,000 tons over 1972. According to a government spokesman most of the increase took place in the last three months of the year -- that is, after the downfall and death of Marxist President Salvador Allende.
Chile's main mining is the El Teniente complex some 130 kilometres (80 miles) south of the capital, Santiago. The ore, which has a cooper content of approximately 1.6%, is taken from shafts driven into the mountainside and the taken by electric railway to a concentrating plant some eight kilometres (5 miles) away. From there it is taken on to a smelting plant.
The mines had belonged to the United States companies, Anaconda and Kennecott, but were nationalised by President Allende. The present military government is renegotiating thee terms for compensation but has not expressed any intention of returning he mines to the companies.
Production figures for the first nine months of the year suffered badly from a strike during April, May and June. The strike was estimated to have cost the country a million U. S. dollars (approximately 400,000) a day.
SYNOPSIS: A strike during April, May and June caused a slump in production at El Teniente.
The strike is estimated to have cost Chile about a million dollars a day in lost export earnings. The copper miners -- traditionally a privileged group -- were one section of the workers who have less than whole-hearted support to President Allende.