Today marked the end of our stay at Hostal Provindencia in Santiago. We left at 3am to catch an early flight towards the North of Chile, Antofagasta. Once landed, we embarked on a 45 minute bus ride to the largest Caterpillar distributor in the world, Finning. We made our first stop at the facility, Sucursal Antofagasta, where used Caterpillar equipment from the many open-pit mines is brought for component overhauls. The primary maintenance activities included overhauls of engines, drive shafts and other major components of CAT equipment.
From here we moved to Finning´s second facility in Antofagasta, where the location was designated for equipment assembly. We had the opportunity to see the haul truck bay, where the largest mining haul trucks in the world, Caterpillar 797F´s, are built. Finning was very generous in providing us lunch at their cafeteria and a picture of the grads on a Caterpillar 797F.
After our visit at the Finning facility, we traveled through the Atacama Desert, one of the most arid places in the world, where the average rainfall is 15 mm per year. We drove through several mining operations along the way, which will be visited next week. After a long 4-hour bus ride, we reached our destination at San Pedro de Atacama. Over the next couple days we plan on exploring the high-altitude lagoons, nearby geothermal geysers and the valley of the moon. More updates are soon to follow.
– Eric Yang