Calama is a city and commune in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. It is the capital of El Loa Province, part of the Antofagasta Region. The River Loa, Chile's longest, flows through the city. At an elevation of 2,400 metres (7,900 ft), Calama is the gateway to the geological and archaeological wonders of Chile’s high central desert. In 2003 the nearby town of Chuquicamata, by one of the largest open-pit copper mines in the world, was dismantled, partly because of environmental reasons, and partly due to encroachment from the mine's expansion. Residents of Chuquicamata then moved to Calama, away from company-owned residences, to find housing on their own.
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