AtLANTIC COPPER - CENTRO DE INTERPRETACION DEL COBRE
by Saskia Mier
Atlantic Copper is a subsidiary of the North American group Freeport-McMoRan. It is the third largest copper smelter and refinery in Europe and leads domestic copper production, with a capacity of 300,000 tonnes per year, from one million tonnes of copper concentrate from different parts of the world.
The Atlantic Copper Company has created an exhibition space that shows the important role of copper in daily life, as well as the close connection that the province of Huelva has had with metallurgy for thousands of years.
The Centro de Interpretación del Cobre (Interpretation of Copper Centre) was completed in 2005 by architect, Don Manuel Romero Romero. Copper sheets measuring 0.6mm in thickness were used to create the walls, placing them between the painted steel structural columns. The joints between the copper sheets are overlapped and seamed, and to finish, special detail has been used to make the structure watertight and at the same time avoid galvanic couples. The result is a simple and clean structure, with visible structural frames and smooth copper panels giving it a natural metallic texture.
The centre is divided into four blocks: one on the history of metallurgy and the role of copper during historical stages; another block explains the process of copper production at Atlantic Copper; a third block is about the uses and characteristics of copper in many different fields, such as health, transport, new technologies, communications, construction, homes, design and architecture; and a fourth block on the social value of this metal and its influence on sustainable development, as well as the main activity of the Atlantic Copper Foundation.
Raw materials arrive via by road and ship. Both docks, Muelle de Rio Tinto and Muelle de Tharsis are used to receive material arriving by ship down the Rio Tinto from El Andévalo mines. These are used for boats of up to 15,000 and 25,000 tons respectively. The Metallurgical Complex itself has three private docks for the loading of sulphuric acid; one for boats of up to 6,000 tons and another two leading to the cargo terminal.
It is only open to visits from groups, such as schoolchildren, university students, neighbourhood associations, business associations and professional colleges, among others.
Avenida Francisco Montenegro.
Tel: 959 21 06 00