24-25 sep 2022
timezone utc -3
AVG. TEMP (year) 18.1°C
AVG. SUNLIGHT (day) 12hrs
AVG. RAINFALL (year) 1mm
issue facing biodiversity loss, water scarcity
Extreme E heads to its first South American X event debuting in Antofagasta, Chile, for the Antofagasta Minerals Copper X Prix. The Championship is already familiar with South America thanks to its extensive Legacy Programme in the Amazon, however the visit to Chile will mark the sport for purpose series’ first race on the continent.
Situated north of the capital, Santiago, the city of Antofagasta is closely linked with mining activity. Since the mid-19th Century, copper mining has dominated the focus of the area, but more recently has shifted towards one of innovative and sustainable mining.
With the course set in Calama, a small mining city in the Atacama desert of Antofagasta and situated on the Loa River in an extremely arid region, the close links of mining are due to having three of the largest Copper mines in the world within 50km of the town.
As the Atacama desert is the driest place on earth there is little in the way of biodiversity, therefore, it is vital to preserve the important biodiversity that there is.
More than half of the country’s plants and animals are endemic to Chile (found nowhere else on earth). Of Chile’s 5,100 species of flora and fauna (animals), more than 2,500 are endemic.
The new location provides a blank canvas for the course, with the layout including fast open corners, tight turns and straights. There will be lots of elevation changes, jumps and step downs, too. The terrain of the area is soft earth covered in broken rocks of assorted sizes with the course consisting of sand and smaller sized rocky terrain.
With a higher altitude, the course walk in the days leading up to the race will prove essential for drivers to do their homework before stepping into the cockpit of the all-electric ODYSSEY 21.
The Antofagasta Minerals Copper X Prix will be taking place in Calama, south of the Centinela Mine which is one of the largest mines in the world. In line with the purpose of developing mining for a better future, Antofagasta Minerals are taking decisive steps to manage and mitigate the effects of climate change on the business and areas of influence.
The Loa water frog is a critically endangered aquatic frog endemic to a small stream in Calama. Following the destruction of its habitat prior to 2019 through mining, agriculture and real estate developments, 14 remaining frogs were rescued and taken into captivity to avoid the species’ extinction. Because they have permeable skin, frogs are very sensitive to pollutants. Moreover, as they can live on both land and in the water, the Loa water frog is a good indicator of the health of these two different environments.
Extreme e legacy
Extreme E will work alongside the Museum of Natural and Cultural History of the Atacama Desert and focus on biodiversity, specifically on the protection and reintroduction of the Loa Water frog near Ojo de Apache - within 10km from Calama. Antofagasta Minerals, the Copper X Prix’s title partner, also joins the initiative through Minera Centinela, matching the contribution to be made to the Museum, with the aim of amplifying its impact as part of the triple alliance for the conservation and reintroduction of this species.
The Loa water frog is a critically endangered aquatic frog, endemic to the Loa River in Calama, and vital to the upkeep of ecosystems in the area. A decline in this already delicate system of biodiversity would result in food-web breakdown and the loss of important ecosystem services. The Loa water frogs play important ecological roles including natural pest control and contributing to the food chains. Their disappearance could cause systemic impacts, in both aquatic and terrestrial environments.
In 2019, a desiccation alert warned one of the last habitats where this amphibian species dwelled was drying up. This triggered a rescue operation, by which a group of scientists scouted whatever superficial waters remained and only found 74 Loa frogs - all of them in poor condition, underweight and with skin damage.
60 of the rescued frogs were relocated to the Ojo de Opache creek, while only 14 of them became the passengers of a commercial flight that brought them from Calama to Santiago. Their destination was the Chilean National Zoo, where vets and scientists began one of the most incredible recovery feats in Chile's natural history.
Over the past three years, the National Santiago Zoo has been working on a breeding plan and recently made headlines when it announced the birth of 200 frogs. After an adaptation and recovery program, the National Zoo now has 600 specimens of the Loa Frog, a very important step towards saving this species from extinction.
Extreme E will be supporting the habitat preparation and reintroduction of the Loa Frog in Calama over the coming months.
Antofagasta Minerals focuses on saving freshwater resources and helping to improve biodiversity in the region, both of which will contribute positively to the project and reintroduction of the Loa water frogs.
They use untreated seawater in its sulphide line and optimises the use of water resources through recirculation systems. At the Los Pelambres operation, a desalinization plant is currently being built, meaning by 2025, 90% of the water Los Pelambres uses will be water from the sea and from recirculation.
The demand for metals to support electrification needs to meet our climate goals and should not be done at the expense of biodiversity. With the Antofagasta Minerals Copper X Prix, Extreme E aims to raise awareness of more sustainable mining methods and highlight the efforts of Antofagasta Minerals in spearheading some of the technical developments conducive to this goal.