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It has been 220 years since the birth of the brilliant geologist and patron of the Sierra Gorda mine – Ignacy Domeyko who revolutionized mining in Chile

It has been 220 years since the birth of the brilliant geologist and patron of the Sierra Gorda mine – Ignacy Domeyko who revolutionized mining in Chile

Friday, 29 July, 2022
He can boast his ‘own’ asteroid, mountain range and mine – July 31 marks 220 years since the birth of the eminent Polish geologist Ignacy Domeyko. The scientist lived and worked in Chile, and is the patron of KGHM's Sierra Gorda mine.

Ignacy Domeyko revolutionized mining and was a true visionary. KGHM has always been associated with the best of the best. “It is just owing to the pioneers of the mining industry, copper explorers, scientists and experts that we can develop and plan investments for years to come. We do it as a global leader in this industry” said Marcin Chludziński, president of the management board of KGHM Polska Miedź S.A.

Famous geologist

Ignacy Domeyko was an outstanding scientist and founder of modern mining in Chile, which today is one of the most recognisable mining countries in the world. Domeyko was a researcher, geologist and long-standing president of the Universidad de Chile. He left a legacy comprising dozens of scientific works. Many places are named after him, including an asteroid and a mountain range in Chile. Interestingly, the Sierra Gorda Cordillera located in the Atacama was named so by Domeyko himself, who, among others, explored these areas.

Sierra Gorda Patron

The copper deposit discovered in 2006 in Sierra Gorda, which is exploited by Sierra Gorda SCM, is also named after Ignacy Domeyko. The mine is one of the main copper producers in Chile, working on sulphide deposit with mineralisation of copper, molybdenum and gold, which are found in small lodes.

Innovation in the Chile mine

The Sierra Gorda mine is one of the major foreign assets in KGHM's portfolio. Only seawater is used in the production process, and from 2023 Sierra Gorda will be 100% powered by renewable energy, mostly from photovoltaic panels and wind farms.

In the mining process, the mine applies a number of innovative solutions such as high-pressure roller crushers, which – thanks to their crushing operations – minimise energy expenditure. Moreover, as the first mining company in Latin America to use an autonomous robot that counts the stock level in the equipment warehouse. The data are available immediately in the integrated system.

According to data provided by the Chilean Copper Commission, Cochilco Sierra Gorda SCM achieved the second best result in mining production growth in Chile last year. In 2021, in comparison to the previous year, there was an increase in both payable copper production (+28 per cent) and operating profit of PLN 3.2 billion (an almost 2.4-fold increase on KGHM Polska Miedź's 55 per cent share).

The financial situation of KGHM's Chilean mine allowed, for the first time ever, the reversal of financial flows to the parent company. Money flowed from Chile to Poland. In 2021, for 55% shares, Sierra Gorda paid out around ca. USD 420 m, and over USD 100 m in the first quarter of 2022.

As it is also in the case of Poland, Sierra Gorda's mine supports employees and residents of the region. Fire-fighters from the Antofagasta, Sierra Gorda and Calama communities can count on equipment, donations as well as training. Also, Sierra Gorda SCM Community Trainee program is conducted within the company, under which people without experience can gain knowledge about mining.

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