Cerro Verde Mine Tour – Michael Gliss and Jason Teetsel

Cerro Verde, a mine located 30 kilometers away from the center of Arequipa, Peru is owned and operated by Freeport-McMoRan, a Phoenix company. Cerro Verde, with its 6,000 workers from Arequipa, is one of the largest mines in the world with two concentrators.

At first glance, the three open pits of Cerro Verde, which span a total of 3 kilometers, instill a great feeling of awe. The pictures of the mine don’t do its scale justice. The vast emptiness of the open pit really makes you feel small in this massive world we live in. Upon seeing the vast pit Jason Teetsel stated, “Wow, that’s a pretty big hole.”  The tour guide at Cerro Verde explained to us that the mine is fully self sustainable and that they re-filter the wastewater of Arequipa and re-release the water back to the Chili River.

We were surprised about the very small yield of product for the large amount of material processed. Throughout the tour of the mine, the sun was always beating down on us. Even through the bus windows, it felt like Arizona in the summertime. It was interesting to see how long and complex the whole process of mining and refining copper ore was. The copper goes through multiple separation phases, including going through a water tank with lime juice. Even though it is an American owned mining company, Cerro Verde still helps the Arequipa by providing jobs, protecting its surrounding environment, and recycling water.


2 thoughts on “Cerro Verde Mine Tour – Michael Gliss and Jason Teetsel

  1. Michael and Jason, your post was very informative. Thank you for sharing your perspectives on the communities your are visiting in Peru.
    Safe travels. God Bless your mission and your work.
    The Stewart Family
    Chandler, AZ

  2. THIS was an experience I never did in my seven years in Peru. Yet mining is so important to the nation’s economy, to workers’ rights, to the environment. In the same week you saw the open pit, I saw the open pit in Bisbee, AZ. Initially it was dug with steam shovels and steam trains, but eventually with the latest diesel machinery. They are even leaching the slag to capture the copper that they could not using earlier technology.

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