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El Salvador

El Salvador is a mining town in the commune of Diego de Almagro, Chañaral Province, Atacama Region, Chile. Located at an elevation of more than 2,400 meters in the foothills of the Andes and in the middle of the Atacama Desert, it has a population of approximately 7,000 inhabitants. At its peak, El Salvador once had a population of 24,000 inhabitants.Development and economyEl Salvador's economy is entirely based on copper mining. The Atacameños extracted copper from this area for more than a thousand years. Nevertheless, it was American explorations in the 1950s that revealed the presence of ore that could be exploited in an industrial scale. Anaconda Copper Mining Company was concerned about declining reserves in its Potrerillos mine and it sent prospectors in search of a new Chilean ore body in 1951. Working under the auspices Anaconda's Andes Mining subsidiary, the mineralization was discovered in 1954 and mapped in 1955.As a remote discovery, Anaconda had to build El Salvador as a self-contained and self-sustaining town. It was complete with housing, schools, stores, water and electrical plants and a railway. The mine opened in 1959. The architect in charge of designing the city was Raymond Olson, who worked at the Anaconda headquarters in New York City.
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