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Tele-production of miningscapes in the open-pit era: The case of low-grade copper, Bingham Canyon, US and Chuquicamata, Chile (1903–1923)

Abstract : In 1906, the Guggenheim Exploration Company (GUGGENEX), financed the low-grade copper project that Daniel Cowen Jackling had started three years earlier at Bingham Canyon (Utah, US). With GUGGENEX's investment, the exploitation of copper entered into the open-pit mining era. Nine years later, the Guggenheims applied the industrial experience acquired in Bingham Canyon in the opening of the Chuquicamata Mine (northern Chile). In both cases, all the crucial decisions about the mining were made in Manhattan, New York, while the local territories faced these projects' outcomes. From a geohistorical standpoint, and through the analysis of several archives, in this paper, we explore how the extractive territories associated with these mines were remotely produced, transformed, and redefined; becoming “teleconnected miningscapes”. We aimed to visualize how the cross-sector partnership between large economic groups—GUGGENEX—and scientific personalities was essential in the emergence of open-pit copper mining. We argue that the miningscapes produced in Bingham Canyon and Chuquicamata mines are an entanglement of scientific discourses, research (geology and metallurgy), materialities (capital and technology), human bodies (workers) and nature (copper porphyries, water, air, etc.) that were unevenly and remotely produced from the headquarters of GUGGENEX.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03122747
Contributor : Laurent Jonchère <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - 11:11:09 AM
Last modification on : Friday, April 16, 2021 - 3:55:25 PM

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Manuel Méndez, D. Galaz-Mandakovic, M. Prieto. Tele-production of miningscapes in the open-pit era: The case of low-grade copper, Bingham Canyon, US and Chuquicamata, Chile (1903–1923). The Extractive Industries and Society, Elsevier, 2020, ⟨10.1016/j.exis.2020.10.013⟩. ⟨hal-03122747⟩

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