Tour group at 4100 m a.s.l. in the Don Luis pit at the Codelco Andina operation, 45 km NE of Santiago in central Chile. From left: Ricardo Vargas (Senior Specialist Geologist, Reserve and Resource Estimation, Codelco-Andina, Chile); Daisuke Ariga (JOGMEC, Japan); Cameron Quinn (Fortescue Metals Group, Australia); Doug Kepert (Fortescue Metals Group, Australia); Dana Olafson (Fortescue Metals Group, Australia); Sergio Barassi (Bafermin, Chile - Tour Leader); Sergio Rodríguez (Servicios Especializados Penoles, Mexico); and Phil Baker (Rio Tinto Exploration, Australia) Image provided by Sergio Barassi.
This was the first visit on the tour itinerary. The group had rendezvoused in Central Santiago at Noon on the previous day, Sunday 23 April. From there, they were taken by charter mini bus to Los Andes where an introductory meeting and dinner were held in the early evening. Early next morning they reported to Codelco-Andina's head quarters in Los Andes for a safety induction before being taken to the Andina mine and given a comprehensive geological visit, and then returned to Los Andes in the mid-afternoon.
From Los Andes, they were driven to Santiago airport for an evening flight north to Iquique, arriving at near 11 pm. After spending the night in Iquique, they departed again by charter bus at 06:00 am for the long drive to Collahuasi. The minibus was spacious, with double seats for each passenger allowing them to rest, while the bus had a duel crew allowing drivers to rotate and rest on the near 4 hour drive.