Chile: Introduction

Submitted by The Catt-Trax2 Team on Mon, 2007/01/08 - 3:00pm.
Report prepared by Ricardo de la Garza Garcia and Jessica Banning, students in BCIT's Fish, Wildlife and Recreation Program.

Where is Chile?

Chile is located in southern South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Argentina and Peru. Chile includes Easter Island (Isla de Pascua) and Isla Sala y Gomez. The total area is 756,950 km2 of which 8,150 km2 is covered with water.

Land Boundaries

Total: 6,339 km
Border countries: Argentina 5,308 km, Bolivia 860 km, Peru 171 km

Extreme Elevations

Lowest point: Pacific Ocean: 0 m
Highest point: Nevado Ojos del Salado: 6,880 m

Natural Resources

Chile's natural resources include copper, timber, iron ore, nitrates, precious metals, molybdenum, and hydropower.

Land Uses

Land use can be divided into three sections:

Arable land - Land cultivated for crops like wheat, maize, and rice that are replanted after each harvest. 2.62% of Chile's land is arable.

Permanent crops - Land cultivated for crops like citrus, coffee, and rubber that are not replanted after each harvest; includes land under flowering shrubs, fruit trees, nut trees, and vines, but not land used for trees grown for wood or timber. Less than one percent of Chile's land is devoted to permanent crops.

Other - Any land that is not arable or permanent crops; includes permanent meadows and pastures, forests and woodlands, built-on areas, roads, barren land, etc. This portion of Chile's land comprises over ninety-six percent of the country's land.


AS of July 2006, the population of Chile was 16,134,219 with a density of twenty-two people per km2. Compare this with Canada which has over thirty-three million people and a population density of four people per km2.

Age Structure of the Chilean population

0-14 years: 24.7% (male 2,035,278/female 1,944,754)
15-64 years: 67.1% (male 5,403,525/female 5,420,497)
65 years and over: 8.2% (male 555,075/female 775,090) (2006 est.)




Chile's mineral wealth and healthy economy contribute to her status as an economic leader in Latin America. Chile is the largest producer of copper in the world, which contributes to half the total value of exports in Chile. The rich copper mines are located primarily in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. Other areas that have contributed to economic growth for this South American nation are wine and agriculture (particularly fruit). However, Chile is highly dependent on copper prices and produces less than half of its domestic food need, thereby creating major economic problems. (

Chile has signed major free trade agreements with several nations to expand trade liberalization. In addition to trade agreements with Canada and the United States, Chile also has several free trade agreements with nations such as Mexico, Central America, China, the European Union, India and South Korea ( As a result of its production of copper and other products and the free trade agreements, it has a high level of foreign trade. It is a member of Mercosur, the Southern Common Market, which promotes "free trade and the fluid movement of goods, peoples, and currency" (Wikipedia,