Chañarcillo was a town and mine in the Atacama Desert of Copiapó Province, Atacama Region, Chile, located near Vallenar and 75 kilometres from Copiapó. It is noted for its silver mining. The town grew up after the Chañarcillo silver mine was discovered on May 16, 1832 by Juan Godoy. This event sparkled the Chilean silver rush. It grew in prominence in the second half of the nineteenth century and became important in the Atacama mining industry and one of the most important mines to the Chilean economy.It was connected by railway before 1862. Today it is something of a ghost town, since mining activity has declined today.
Magnificent groups of large crystals of Proustite have been found at Chañarcillo, including proustite, stephanite, chlorargyrite and adamite.
Proustite, stephanite, chlorargyrite, native silver, calcite and adamite.
Coments: The main historic mining area was in the La Descubridora ravine. During the mid 19th century this was the third biggest silver mine in the world, about the year 1853 nearly 3000 men worked on site. Innumerable adits were mining at least six vein systems. The whole area is sometimes refered to as Swiss Cheese. Today you can still access some of the mines, and to walk for over an hour the maze that exists inside. The deeper levels are flooded, but you can still pick up some samples with traces of silver ores.