The 33 made Chilean mines famous, their evacuation after 69 days being stuck at the San José copper-gold mine, 45km North of Copiapó, was broadcasted worldwide. The guys got famous, Chile’s mining reputation notorious.
Walking in Copiapó I don’t see a lot of the mining activity, however it contributed the historical wealth of the city.
Nowadays the city is quiet, and dangerous according to a local police officer, who advices me to stow my money in my socks, unless if I would go out with him, thanks for the advice.
A walk around town, however demonstrates some city renovation projects, such as the zone around the Copiapó River, which is embanked by new public spaces, green zones, fountains, play grounds, open air gyms, and zones to sit and relax, invite the citizens to escape the city. The river itself is subject of renovation works as well, bobcats are digging a new route for the river, which obviously one day must have been way wider, and deeper. But human activity destroyed it nearly, as it did to many water sources, by causing climat changed induced droughts, and in this particular case: mining.
But I do understand what he meant with dangerous, considering the huge amount of homeless and baggers around, especially under the bridges of the River, a tremendous contrast between the luxurious renewed zone, and the improvised houses of carton and matrasses, which makes you question budgetary priorities of the city government.
The same counts for the amount of bike lanes in the city, awesome, but no bikes to see.
City planning and budgetting becomes even more interesting at my next destination, where an ancient, organic grown city has to compete with a new, planned city: Valparaíso and its twin Viña del Mar.