15 October 2010

Bob Haldeman Interview (27)

So we engineered a scheme wherein we went from the valley
floor and ran a thirty-kilometer tunnel. We would go right
underneath and hook it up and bring the ore out to almost the
valley floor, with a concentrator there. Our smelter was an
antiquated thing; it's still working today, but it was a
shambles . We would put in a modern smelter that would capture
the gas, acid, and so on, at about the 3,000-foot elevation,
very close to the mill. We would walk away from all the town
sites, all paternalism. From that town of Codegua to Rancagua,
which was a large open city, we would build government -financed
housing. We would put up the money, the workers would assume a
long-term mortgage, and then they would pay the government. The
thing was a very nice way to get out of your housing problems up

"Our smelter was an antiquated thing . . ." (click for larger image)

It would take you about thirteen minutes to travel by bus
from the city to the tunnel at Codegua, another thirty minutes
into the mine, five minutes up the shaft. In fifty minutes,
you're at your working face. As it was then, it took you four
hours just to get from the city down, and from the working face,
five-and-a-half or six hours. Because of the concentration of
people of up there and the limited ability to move passengers on
that narrow-gauge railroad, we calculated that every family had
an opportunity only once a month to leave the camp. We just
didn't have any more transportation facilities. When there was
a snow slide, we were locked in for three or four days until we
dug it out.

We presented that plan to Mr. Alessandri in 1959. One of
the conditions we required was that we had some guarantee, say
for a twenty-year period- -they call them an ad referendum
contract, in which you sit with the government and say, "I want
nondiscriminatory treatment on exchange rate, pay the same taxes
as the Chilean companies." In other words, don't discriminate
against me; let me get into the community here and pay the same
as everybody else pays, guaranteed for twenty years. If taxes
go up for everybody, I'll go up; if they go down, I go down.

Sewell as parts of it were being demolished

Index to Haldeman Interview 

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