15 October 2010

Bob Haldeman Interview (26)

The Codegua Plan to Modernize the Mine 

Haldeman: We devised what is called the Codegua plan. Codegua is a little 
town just a few miles north of Rancagua, the rail terminal. Why 
was it there? That was a natural valley. It went up and almost 
connected with the valley where El Teniente mine was. If you're 
looking north-south, Codegua was just about west of the mine of 
this little canyon that went up there- -but never connected over. 
To get to our mine, you went from Rancagua, went south, looped 
up El Teniente canyon, and back north to the mine. 

We were mining from Sewell, going in from level Teniente 5 
and going up. It's an upside mine. All the ore that we mined 
up above, we dropped in the ore passes, which was a primary 
crushing operation in itself. It went out to the concentrator 
here, and the concentrates were shipped by an aerial tramway to 
Caletones, about twenty kilometers down. 

We knew that by mining here by this method and bringing the 
ore out to this town, where we had paternalism, high costs, and 
people with social problems, the unions had everybody captive 
there. Socialists and communists dominated this union. People 
couldn't run away; they couldn't go out and spend a weekend at 
the beach, like they can living in Rancagua. They're held 
captive. If they want to have an assembly, they would knock on 
doors, get everybody out, and vote for a strike. It was a 
wonderful method. 

We figured that maybe by the year 1980 we would be pressed 
to feed this concentrator. We would be mining just about this 
level, and there was a tremendous reserve of a billion or two 
billion tons of ore below this. Sooner or later, sometime in 
the future, somebody has to go down to a lower level. You can 
go down in another level, from 7,000 to 5,000 feet, but if you 
went to Codegua you went to 2,000 feet, and there you had mining 
beyond the year 2100 if you wanted. 


Index to Haldeman Interview

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