Refabricating Mining Landscape: 3 Environmental Schemes
Tarapaca Region, Atacama Desert, Chile

Design team: Dr Cristian Suau & Monika Levan
Clients: Collahuasi mining company; UNAP & Corporacion del Salitre
Publication: local media (La Estrella)
Type: environmental design, landscaping
Year: 2002
Budget: confidential
Landscape: soil ad water purification, greenfields
Places: Punta Patache, Collahuasi (Iquique); Punta Patillos, salt pit (Iquique) and Humberstone (Pozo Almonte)

1. Water Purification Plant: Punta Patache, Collahuasi (Iquique), 2002
The aim of this environmental consultancy was to provide a landscape and water treatment strategy by purifying high polluted water which is utilised in the transporting process of minerals. The scheme was to establish 'smart' greenery which resists alkaline conditions and it able to absorbed pulverised water.

2. Open-air Salt Quarry: Punta Patillos, Salt Pit (Iquique), 2002
The aim of this project was to implement a pedestrian circuit and a info box for tourists who visit this artificial whitened giant 'cavity'. Visitors can learn geological and mineralogical aspects of the extraction of salt in the driest desert on Earth. In principle, salt lakes or pans form when the water flowing into the lake, containing salt or minerals, cannot leave because the lake is endorheic (terminal). The water then evaporates, leaving behind any dissolved salts and thus increasing its salinity, making a salt lake an excellent place for salt production. High salinity will also lead to a unique flora and fauna in the lake in question; sometimes, in fact, the result may be an absence or near absence of life near the salt lake.

3. Master planning of Humberstone mining settlement (Pozo Almonte), 2002
The aim of this project was to utilised the industrial landfills of Humberstone by implementing a network of activities such as pedestrian circuit, sport facilities, sustainable farming and industrial routes within the UNESCO listed mining town of Humberstone. The assumption of this proposal was to reinforce the restoration of the listed building by providing a feasible master plan focused on micro agro-production and forestation by employing natural fertilisers such as 'salitre'.

Download PDF Design Project


Punta Patache, Collahuasi aerial view

Punta Patache, Collahuasi site view

Punta Patache, Collahuasi masterplan

Open-air Salt Pit: Punta Patillos aerial view

Open-air Salt Pit  

Open-air Salt Pit: Punta Patillos layout

Humberstone - aerial view  

Humberstone - industrial legacy  

Master planning of Humberstone site & paths

Master planning of Humberstone moto track & car park

Master planning of Humberstone farming & phases (A+B)