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Sewell Mining Town

Sewell Mining Town

Situated at 2,000 m in the Andes, 60 km to the east of Rancagua, in an environment marked by extremes of climate, Sewell Mining Town was built by the Braden Copper company in 1905 to house workers at what was to become the world’s largest underground copper mine, El Teniente. It is an outstanding example of the company towns that were born in many remote parts of the world from the fusion of local labour and resources from an industrialized nation, to mine and process high-value natural resources. The town was built on a terrain too steep for wheeled vehicles around a large central staircase rising from the railway station. Along its route formal squares of irregular shape with ornamental trees and plants constituted the main public spaces or squares of the town. The buildings lining the streets are timber, often painted in vivid green, yellow, red and blue. At its peak Sewell numbered 15,000 inhabitants, but was largely abandoned in the 1970s.

Ville minière de Sewell

Située à plus de 2 000 m d’altitude dans les Andes, à 60 km à l’est de Rancagua, dans un environnement marqué par un climat extrême, la ville minière de Sewell a été construite par la société Bradden Copper en 1905 pour héberger les mineurs travaillant dans ce qui était en train de devenir la plus grande mine souterraine de cuivre du monde, El Teniente. C’est un exemple exceptionnel de ces villes qui ont été « implantées » dans de nombreuses parties reculées du monde pour exploiter une mine et transformer des ressources naturelles de grande valeur, en utilisant à la fois une main d’œuvre locale et les moyens financiers et techniques d’un pays industrialisé. Installée sur un terrain trop abrupt pour les véhicules à roues, la ville a été construite autour d’un grand escalier central partant de la gare. Le long de la pente, des places de forme irrégulière, embellies par des arbres et des plantes, constituaient les principaux espaces publics de la ville. Les immeubles construits le long des rues sont en bois, souvent peints dans des tons vifs de vert, jaune, rouge et bleu. A son apogée, Sewell a compté jusqu’à 15 000 habitants mais elle a été largement abandonnée dans les années 1970.

مدينة سويل المنجمية

في العام 1905، أسست شركة برادن كوبر مدينة سويل المنجمية التي تقع على علو أكثر من2000 متر في الأنديز وعلى بعد 60 كم شرق رانكاغوا، في بيئة معروفة بمناخها القاسي. وكان الهدف من تأسيسها إيواء عمّال المناجم الذين كانوا يعملون في منجم التينيانتي الذي ما لبث أن أصبح أكبر منجم جوفي للنحاس في العالم. ويشكّل هذا الموقع مثلاً إستثنائياً عن تلك المدن التي كانت "تستحدث" في أنحاء نائية من العالم بهدف استغلال أحد المناجم الموجودة فيها وتحويل مواردها الطبيعية القيّمة من خلال الجمع بين اليد العاملة المحلية والأساليب المالية والتقنية المتوفرة في بلد صناعي. تقوم هذه المدينة على أرض وعرة يصعب الوصول إليها بالمركبات المزوّدة بالعجلات، لذلك تمّ تشييدها حول سلّم مركزي كبير ينطلق من محطة القطارات. وعلى امتداد المنحدر، كانت الساحات المصممة بأشكال غير منتظمة والمزيّنة بالأشجار والنباتات، تشكّل الأماكن العامة الأساسية في المدينة. أمّا الأبنية المشيّدة على طول الطرقات، فكانت مصنوعة من الخشب المطلي في غالبية الأحيان بألوان زاهية كالأخضر والأصفر والأحمر والأزرق. وعندما بلغت مدينة سويل ذروتها، كان عدد سكانها يناهز الـ 15000 نسمة إلاّ أنّهم هجروها بأعداد كبيرة في السبعينيات من القرن العشرين.

source: UNESCO/ERI

塞维尔铜矿城

塞维尔采矿小镇建于20世纪早期,位于智利首都圣地亚哥以南85公里处,处于安第斯山海拔2000米以上的极端气候环境中,是布瑞登铜业公司(the Braden Copper company)在厄尔特尼恩特(El Teniente)这一世界最大的地下铜矿中为工人修建的工房。在当地劳动力与工业化国家的资源相融合,开采和冶炼高价值自然资源的过程中诞生了这个小镇,它是位于世界偏远地区企业生活区的杰出典范。在巅峰时期,塞维尔拥有15 000名居民,但在20世纪70年代小镇的大部分都被废弃了。小镇沿着从火车站升起的庞大的中心阶梯而建,地势非常陡峭,轮式车辆根本无法抵达。沿着大路分布着种有观赏树木和植物的不规则方形区域,构成了小镇的主要公共活动区或广场。在中央阶梯之外,环山小路通往较小的广场和连接小镇其他区域的二级阶梯。沿街建筑是由原木搭建的,通常漆成鲜艳的绿色、黄色、红色和蓝色。这些房屋由美国设计,其中大多数是按照美国19世纪的风格建造的,但是其他建筑,如工艺学校(1936年)则是现代主义灵感的产物。塞维尔是20世纪唯一一座为全年度使用而在山区建造的大规模工业采矿住区。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Шахтерский город Сьюэлл

Расположенный в 85 км к югу от столицы – Сантъяго, в местности с экстремальным климатом, на высоте более 2000 м в Андах, шахтерский город Сьюэлл был построен «Брейден Коппер Компани» в начале ХХ в. для поселения рабочих крупнейшей в мире подземной шахты по добыче меди Эль-Теньенте. Это выдающийся пример города, каковые создавались промышленными компаниями во многих удаленных районах мира за счет ресурсов экономически развитых стран и в расчете на использование местной рабочей силы, с целью добычи и переработки наиболее ценных природных богатств. На пике своего развития Сьюэлл имел 15 тыс. жителей, но он был почти полностью заброшен в 1970-х гг. Город был построен на крутых склонах, не допускавших использование колесного транспорта, по сторонам большой центральной лестницы, поднимавшейся от железнодорожной станции. Вдоль лестницы располагались площадки неправильной формы с декоративными посадками деревьев и кустарников, которые служили основными общественными и озелененными пространствами города. В обе стороны от центральной лестницы расходились горизонтальные проходы, которые вели к меньшим площадкам и лестницам второго порядка, соединявшим лежащие на разных уровнях части города. Здания на улицах деревянные, и многие покрашены в яркие цвета - зеленый, желтый, красный и синий. В основном архитектура зданий следовала американским образцам Х1Х в., однако проект Промышленной школы (1936 г.) был вдохновлен архитектурой модернизма. Сьюэлл – это единственное в ХХ в. крупное горнопромышленное шахтерское поселение, построенное в расчете на круглогодичное использование.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Ciudad minera de Sewell

Situada a 60 km al este de Rancagua, a mí¡s de 2.000 metros de altitud, en la cordillera andina, la ciudad minera de Sewell fue construida por la empresa Braden Koper a principios del siglo XX para albergar a los trabajadores de la mina El Teniente, que pronto se iba a convertir en la mayor explotación subterrí¡nea de cobre del mundo. Sewell es un ejemplo notable de las ciudades construidas por empresas industriales, que surgieron en muchos rincones apartados del planeta como resultado de la fusión entre la mano de obra local y los recursos técnicos y financieros de algunas naciones industrializadas, con vistas a explotar yacimientos mineros y transformar recursos naturales valiosos. Construida en una ladera demasiado abrupta para permitir la circulación de vehí­culos con ruedas, Sewell se estructuró en torno a una gran escalera central que se elevaba desde la estación ferroviaria. A lo largo de su recorrido, esa escalera iba jalonando plazoletas de configuración irregular, ornadas de í¡rboles y plantas, que constituí­an el espacio público urbano principal. Los edificios que se alinean a lo largo de las calles son de madera y con frecuencia estí¡n pintados con diversos colores llamativos: verde, amarillo, rojo y azul. La ciudad minera fue abandonada por una gran mayorí­a de sus pobladores en el decenio de 1970, pero en su momento de apogeo llegó a contar con 15.000 habitantes.

source: UNESCO/ERI

シーウェル鉱山都市

source: NFUAJ

Mijnstad Sewell

Sewell ligt op 2.000 meter hoogte in de Andes, 60 kilometer ten oosten van Rancagua in een omgeving met extreme klimaten. Het bedrijf Braden Copper bouwde de mijnstad in 1905 om werknemers te huisvesten op El Teniente, dat later ’s werelds grootste ondergrondse kopermijn werd. De stad werd gebouwd op een terrein te steil voor wielvoertuigen, rondom een grote centrale trap die opsteeg van het treinstation. De belangrijkste openbare stadsruimtes bestonden uit pleinen omgeven door sierbomen en -planten en de houten gebouwen langs de straten waren vaak groen, geel, rood en blauw geschilderd. Sewell telde op zijn hoogtepunt 15.000 inwoners en werd na 1970 grotendeels verlaten.

Source: unesco.nl

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Outstanding Universal Value

Brief Synthesis

Sewell Mining Town, located more than 2,200 m above sea level, clambers up the barren slopes of central Chile’s Los Andes Cordillera above the world’s largest underground copper mine, El Teniente. The first copper company town in Chile (the main producer of this metal in the world), the now-uninhabited Sewell is an outstanding example of the global phenomenon of company towns in which settlements were established in remote parts of the world to extract and process natural resources – in this case, high-value copper. These company towns were typically created through a fusion of local labour with external capital and resources. Sewell Mining Town is particularly notable for its contribution to the global spread of large-scale mining technology.

Sewell’s origins go back to 1905, when the Chilean government authorized American mining engineer William Braden to exploit the copper mine. In an epic commercial endeavour, Braden built roads, a concentrator plant, camps and a railway that connected this remote place to the city of Rancagua 60 km away. El Teniente and the town of Sewell were owned by American companies until 1971, when the copper industry was nationalized and became the property of the State, which, by the end of 1960, had already become the major stockholder. Sewell had gradually expanded to accommodate 15,000 people in 175,000 square metres by the time of its maximum development in 1968. The town then slowly lost population when the company resolved that it was more efficient to move its workers to Rancagua. A process of demolition ended in the 1990s when a policy oriented toward the protection and conservation of the site was implemented.

Sewell is a company town of great originality. It is known as the Ciudad de las Escaleras (City of Stairs) or Ciudad Derramada en el Cerro (City Spread Down the Hill) because of its urban configuration on the steep Andean slopes. These dramatic inclines gave rise to an organic design characterised by an exclusively pedestrian interior circulation system of stairs and paths, with public places built on small open areas between the buildings. The construction of buildings and industrial facilities shows great creativity and quality in the use of wood and steel. Their architectural expression is marked by austerity, functionality and the imprint of modernism.

The most outstanding attributes of the property are the industrial installations, which take advantage of the hillside incline for the mineral grinding process; the buildings that combine houses on the upper floors with business or services in the ground floor; the service buildings, public spaces and pedestrian circulation system; the electric infrastructure and drinking water and sewer systems; the assorted and diverse networks of pipes crossing the town, as well as the Rebolledo Bridge; and the urban design and the ensemble’s location in the stark Andean landscape. Among the industrial installations, the Concentrator (still in working order) and the energy infrastructure stand out, as well as the Punta de Rieles (Rails’ End) sector at the highest point on the property. In Sewell was forged a special culture – a combination of Chilean and American customs – which survives with its former residents and their descendants.

Criterion (ii): Sewell town in its hostile environment is an outstanding example of the global phenomenon of company towns, established in remote parts of the world through a fusion of local labour with resources from already industrialised nations, to mine and process high value copper. The town contributed to the global spread of large-scale mining technology.

Integrity

Within the boundaries of the 17.2-ha property are located all the elements necessary to express the Outstanding Universal Value of Sewell Mining Town, including 38 percent of the housing and 80 percent of the industrial buildings that constituted the town at the time of its maximum development. These buildings form the central core of the town as it was configured by the mid 20th century. The property includes all the construction typologies historically located here except for the detached single-family houses of the American inhabitants, all of which have been destroyed. The pedestrian circulation system, public spaces and service infrastructure are intact and remain operational. The property does not suffer from adverse effects of development or neglect.

The property (which is surrounded by a 33-ha buffer zone) is within a mining exploitation area, so access is controlled; tour visits are limited, and undertaken only under the supervision of authorized operators. Because of this provision, the property does not suffer from looting and does not face undue tourism pressure.

Authenticity

Sewell Mining Town is authentic in terms of the ensemble’s forms and designs, materials and substances, uses and functions, and location and setting. The industrial sector of the property still operates, thereby assuring its full authenticity of use and function. Although copper flotation (metal separation) is no longer performed in the Concentrator, mineral grinding still is. Sewell is a remarkable example of synergy between production and property conservation, and its future viability largely depends on this balance.

In the non-industrial sector buildings, some interior transformations took place in the 1980s, but are reversible. Most of the buildings have been thoroughly restored and are subjected to periodic maintenance; their construction systems, design and essential characteristics have been preserved. The town also includes buildings that authentically illustrate the full range of its construction stages, including the last stage before its depopulation, when management introduced modern reinforced concrete buildings (Building No. 501, built in 1958, for example). It has been recommended, in the context of the Committee’s comment at the time of inscription concerning adaptive re-use, that evidence of the town’s buildings’ original functions be strengthened.

The widespread use of wood creates a serious potential for fire, although the high altitude reduces this risk, and there are strict safety procedures to minimise this and other potential disasters. The high altitude has also made the property inhospitable to xylophagous insects.

Protection and management requirements

Sewell Mining Town is owned by the El Teniente Division of the National Copper Corporation of Chile (Codelco-Chile), a State-owned corporation created by Decree Law No. 1.350 of 30 January 1976. In 2006 this corporation created the Fundación Sewell (Sewell Foundation), a non-profit organization devoted specifically to managing, administering, conserving and promoting Sewell Mining Town’s assets as a museum site for the copper mining industry, and to which it provides funding. Sewell Mining Town was declared a National Monument by virtue of Ministry of Education Decree No. 857 of 27 August 1998, and is therefore overseen by the National Monuments Council. A Management Plan was in force for the period 2006-2010, but has not yet been updated. An important management principle for the property has been community participation: the former inhabitants of Sewell’s contribution to conserving and developing the property and its memory for future generations is underlined, as are historical and archaeological investigations and interpretation of the property as a testimony to Chilean copper mining as a whole.

Sustaining the Outstanding Universal Value of the property over time will require updating, approving and implementing the Management Plan for the property; maintaining a rigorous maintenance programme, given the harsh climatic conditions; in the context of adaptive re-use, restoring rather than adapting a number of the dwelling units in order to display the realities of mining life in the town and to keep sufficient evidence of the internal layout of the buildings to ensure that their original functions can be discerned; and ensuring that interventions, including those related to ongoing copper mining and processing activities, do not compromise the Outstanding Universal Value, authenticity and integrity of the property.

Historical Description

The existence of the el Teniente copper deposits seems to have been known and mined in pre-Hispanic times. During the 15th - 17th centuries, raw materials were exported by the Spanish and then for two hundred years there was little activity. In 1897 the then owner of the mining rights initiated a survey of the copper seams in the area. On discovering the huge potential of the site, and the fact that extracting the copper would require great investment, an approach was made in 1903 to the North American mining engineer William Braden who had taken part in the Great Exhibition in Santiago in 1894.


Braden arrived in Chile the following year, 1904, and begun acquiring the property. Almost immediately a road was constructed to the nearest railway line at Rancagua. Braden joined forces with E W Nash, President of the American Smelting and Refining Company and with Barton Sewell, the founder and Vice-President, they created the Braden Copper Company.


Over the next two years the infrastructure was developed, customs exemption agreed by the government of Chile for the large amounts of machinery to be imported from the US, and the mine equipped. By 1906, the first mill and concentrator had been erected, a lift established and an electricity generator installed. All these works involved what was then cutting edge technology, but in an extremely remote and hostile environment which initially led to set-backs. However, mining was officially authorised and begun in 1905.


In 1909 the recession in the US led to financial difficulties and fresh funds were injected by a company belonging to the Guggenheim brothers who took overall control in 1915 and the Braden Copper Company became a subsidiary of Kennecott Copper Corporation.


The operation base for the company was located at Rancagua which developed rapidly as a town. In 1917, the old foundry at Sewell was replaced by a more modern one in Caletones, where a new town also developed.


Although the company was prosperous, conditions for the mine workers in terms of industrial safety was not good. In 1945 a major, tragic, disaster occurred which spotlighted the problems: a fire in the entrance to the mine sent smoke to the galleries below choking 355 workers to death. The ‘Smoke Tragedy' led to a government investigation and a widespread national debate on the inadequacy of safety legislation and the power wielded by foreign companies. The company responded by developing a large department of industrial safety.


By the 1950s Chile had become the second largest copper producer in the world. As a result of ‘Chilenization' in 1967, the Government of Chile gained a 51% share of the mine and in 1971 the industry was nationalised and the company became a division of the Copper Corporation of Chile. This brought changes such as the El Teniente Club becoming the miners' cafeteria and the class A housing and other buildings being demolished.


At this time a decision was taken to move the population of Sewell further down the valley, in order to provide better facilities.


The town was abandoned as a mining settlement in 1980, remaining in partial use as a dormitory for contractors' personnel, and this led to the modification of some of the buildings and further demolition of others.


Demolition was finally halted at the end of the 1980s and in 1998 the town was declared a national monument.


The mine however still functions and el Teniente division of the Copper Corporation now produces 3% of the worlds' copper.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation