A mine worker at Glencore’s El Pachón copper and molybdenum project in Argentina’s San Juan province bumped into human remains while performing some road cleaning duties over the weekend.
Police personnel from the criminalistics division, the Special Group of Rescue and Security Actions, Fiscal Unit 4 of the Judiciary, the director of the Archaeological Research Institute and a representative from the Provincial Heritage Directorate visited the site to assess the remains.
Part of a skull, a femur, a humerus, a radius, an ulna and some hand and foot bones, were identified.
Once the initial assessment was conducted, the remains were wrapped up and transferred to the Archaeological Research Institute where it was determined that the bones belonged to a 40 to 50-year-old male who was part of an aboriginal tribe that resided in the area from 700 AD onwards. Some accompanying artifacts gave support to this hypothesis.
The site where the remains were found is located in the Andes mountain range at 2,293 metres above sea level, in the El Pachón, Barreal area.
Glencore’s project spans an area situated between 3,600 and 4,200 metres above sea level, just 5 kilometres from the Chilean border. Its resource has been estimated at 15.04 mt, with the potential to initially produce 400,000 tonnes of copper per year.