Blasting at La Escondida Copper Mine, Chile.
Minera Escondida Copper Mine
Minera Escondida, which means 'hidden' in Spanish, is a mining company that operates two open pit copper mines in the Atacama Desert, 170 km southeast of Antofagasta in northern Chile. It is currently the highest producing copper mine in the world. 2007 production of 1.483 million tons of the metal was worth US$ 10.12 billion, mainly as metal in concentrate but some as cathode, and was 9.5% of world output and 26% of Chilean production, according to the US Geological Survey's preliminary estimates of 2007 world mine output.
Escondida produces mainly copper concentrates, which are piped as a slurry down to the port of Coloso where they are dewatered before shipping, and a smaller proportion of cathode copper from the leaching of both oxide and low grade sulfide ore. It also produces gold and silver.
The mine is owned 57.5% by BHP Billiton, 30% by Rio Tinto, 10% by JECO, a Japanese consortium headed by Mitsubishi and 2.5% by the International Finance Corp (IFC), a World Bank subsidiary.
Rock blasting is the controlled use of explosives to excavate or remove rock. It is a technique used most often in mining and civil engineering such as dam construction.
The use of explosives in mining goes back to the year 1627, when gunpowder was first used in place of mechanical tools in the Hungarian (now Slovakian) town of Banská Štiavnica. The innovation spread quickly throughout Europe and the Americas.
Wikipedia, Rock blasting.