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O f i c i n a   V i c t o r i a

  Turn your head towards the stars.

There on top of the night, the old nitrate moon dances,

slowly, waiting for the hand of a calichero

to cross the last doors of space.

Andrés Sabella    



 

Located 115 kms. Southeast of Iquique, it was constructed in the lands that originally were occupied by the "Shanks System" Brac and Franka nitrate plants.

 
Plant for the elaboration of Nitrate in Oficina Salitrera Brac.



Oficina Salitrera Victoria in function: Leaching Plant with cachuchos", and at the back the discharge bridge (Courtesy of Fermin Cardalda).
 

The installation commenced at the beginning of the year 1941 and culminated at the end of 1944; its productive system was similar to that of the nitrate Oficinas María Elena and Pedro de Valdivia (Guggenheim system) with a variance in the final phase of the process called "Krystal". Its original production capacity was designed to reach 160,000 metric tons per year of crystallized nitrate, reaching the maximum figure of almost 145,000 metric tons of production in the years 1954/55.

 


 

The raw materials (calicheras) used were those that had already been worked by nitrate plants under the Shanks productive system, such as Buenaventura, Slavonia, Bellavista, Alianza, Franka and Brac, apart from having virgin pampas with head grades in Sodium Nitrate which were adequate for the production system (over 7%).

Its initial owner was Compañía Salitrera de Tarapaca y Antofagasta, and the Chairman of the Board was Mr. Osvaldo de Castro.

 
General view of the Victoria production plant
 


 
View from the building of the "Employees' Ranch, from left to right: Av. Valparaiso, Theater, Market and Pulpería, July 1979. (Courtesy of Elisa Flores).
 
Partial view of plaza "Viña del Mar" in Victoria, July 1979 (courtesy of Elisa Flores).


 
Panoramic view of the Krystal Plant At the back the "nitrate yards", July 1979. (Courtesy of Elisa Flores)
 

Due to financial problems in the year 1960 the administration was intervened by the State through CORFO and in order to maintain its productive operations, the affiliate company called ESAVI was created, administrative entity that was in effect until 1968, year when it was merged with the productive centers of the former Anglo Lautaro Nitrate Company (oficinas María Elena and Pedro de Valdivia) that gave rise to Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SOQUIMICH).

Under this administration it operated with productive and financial ups and downs. but because of the steady increase in its operating costs, it was unable to maintain competitiveness for the external nitrate market, which determined its definitive shutdown on October 31, 1979.



 

Since the beginning Oficina Salitrera Victoria
used the housing infrastructure of the camps of the former Brac and Franka nitrate plants, which were remodeled and extended on several occasions. It also used as a camp that of the former Oficina Alianza, where the personnel of the Mining Department lived preferentially.

In its stage of greatest boom it had more than 2,000 workers, who with their families and other inhabitants of private and state origin, constituted an urban center of over 9,000 inhabitants.

 
Church of former Oficina Victoria, between the streets of Antofagasta and Valdivia, July 1979. At present established in the city of Iquique, Las Zampoñas Street. (Courtesy of Elisa Flores).
 


 
Hospital of Oficina Victoria and its auxiliary Dependencies. At the back, the tailings of the former Oficina Brac, July 1979. (Courtesy of Elisa Flores).
 

All the necessary dependencies to attend to the needs of services and recreation of its inhabitants existed in this urban site, such as : Administrative offices, Hospital, Store, Market, Swimming pool, Theater, Sports Stadiums, Educational Centers, Police Quarters, Hotel, Post Office, Musical Groups, Social and Sport Clubs, Fire brigades, Radio station, etc.

 


   
Eco Pampino

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