Chuquicamata cho͞o˝kēkämä´tä [key], former town, Antofagasta region, N Chile, on the western slopes of the Andes. At an elevation of 10,435 ft (3,181 m), the location is the site of the world's largest copper mines. The extensive open-pit mining of the region dates to 1915. Smelting and flotation plants began operations in 1951 an expansion of refining plants in 1970 substantially increased copper output. In 2003, due to the expansion of the mine and environmental problems, the town was evacuated and its buildings removed many residents moved to nearby Calama.

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