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Located on the slopes of the Andes in the commune of Machalí in Chile, at an altitude of 2,000 metres, lies the abandoned mining town of Sewell built by the Braden Copper company in 1905 to house workers of the world’s largest underground copper mine, El Teniente. It was the first copper company town in Chile, the largest producer of this metal in the world, and an outstanding example of the global phenomenon where company towns were established in remote parts of the world to extract and process natural resources. Sewell Mining Town is particularly notable for its contribution to the global spread of large-scale mining technology.

The town was built on the slope of the Andes with no flat roads, just a giant central staircase rising from the railway station. Along its route formal squares of irregular shape with ornamental trees and plants constituted the main public spaces or squares of the town. The buildings lining the streets are made of timber, often painted in vivid green, yellow, red and blue.

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© Amusing Planet, 2014.





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