It’s been the best part of three decades since we visited  the copper mine at Chuquicamata in Chile, and I still can’t decide whether it was a thing of stunning aesthetic quality or a vast, hideous blemish on an otherwise almost virgin landscape.

The facts are these: It’s the second deepest man-made pit, and the largest open-cast copper mine in the world by volume.

Moreover – before anyone gets all outraged and self-righteous about my conundrum – the copper wiring powering the laptop, Mac or PC you’re currently looking at this site on comes from this very pit or another mine just like it somewhere else on the planet.

What I remember mostly from our visit (apart from the terrible air quality from the smoke stacks nearby) was the sense of overwhelming awe when we first looked over the edge of the mine. I also remember the expressions upon the faces of all the members of our little tour party at that moment as we all looked at each other in disbelieving amazement. Everyone was smiling – inanely and bemused for sure – but we were smiling.

As usual with these gallery posts, ultimately it’s the images which must do the talking and the convincing – or otherwise. Do they make you smile or make you cry.

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