Copper is at the heart of the Pan American and Parapan American Games medals 

  • The centre of the medals that will be awarded to the winners of the Pan American and Parapan American Games will be copper.
  • Antofagasta Minerals is an official sponsor of the Santiago 2023 Games. 


In Sierra Gorda —in the heart of the Atacama Desert, 2,265 meters above sea level— Antofagasta Minerals mines copper at its Centinela mine, so it was fitting that the medals that will honor the winners of the Santiago 2023 Pan and Parapan American Games were unveiled there.   

For the first time in history of the Games, the medals will have a “copper heart”; copper will hold a special place at the center of every medal.  This is the first time that the center of each medal is made entirely of the most significant metal in Chile – copper.

These beautiful medals contain distinctive elements representing Chile, such as the condor, the Andes mountain range and the Araucaria tree. They are crowned with a traditional Mapuche ornament. The Mapuches are one of the indigenous peoples of Chile. “Each medal is different from the other because they are made one by one with an artisanal patina or oxidation process. No two medals are the same,” explained Veronica Lobos, head of Brand, Identity and Image for the Games, who is in charge of the project at Santiago 2023.


A multi-coloured mine blasting at the Esperanza Sur pit was the first thing the officials witnessed, among whom were the Sports Minister, Jaime Pizarro; Antofagasta Minerals CEO, Iván Arriagada; the Executive Director of the Santiago 2023 Corporation, Harold Mayne-Nicholls; the president of Panam Sports, Neven Ilic, regional Antofagasta authorities, athletes and Centinela workers.

“Copper mining is part of our identity as a country, of what distinguishes us,” said Iván Arriagada. “Chile is the biggest producer of this metal on the planet, and the country with the largest reserves. This is why, as Antofagasta Minerals, we wanted to be present in the medals, so that the athletes and para-athletes take home a souvenir of our land.”

Minister Pizarro added that the medals represent achievement of personal goals, and of great results. “Each athlete who steps onto the podium of this sporting event, the most important on the continent, will take a piece of Chile with them back to their country.”

“I always imagined that the medals at the Pan American and Parapan Games would be made of copper,”  said Neven Ilic. “When an emblematic company like Antofagasta Minerals decides to join a sporting event like ours, the truth is that it fills us with pride and confidence.”

More than five thousand medals will be handed out in the largest sporting event in Chile’s history. Antofagasta Minerals is a sponsor of Santiago 2023 and, also, in part, of these medals.


A comparatively recent event, the first Pan American Games (also known as “Pan Am Games”) were held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1951. Nineteen nations were officially represented in 18 sports. Since then, the Games have been held in ten other countries across the Americas and the Caribbean. The Parapan American Games are also held every four years, immediately following the Pan American Games, since 1999.

This year will be the first time that these games are held in Chile.

The competition gathers athletes from nations of the Americas, every four years, in the year before the Summer Olympic Games. It is the oldest continental games in the world.

The U.S. has won the most medals — 4,713 in total. Cuba is second with 2,124, followed by Canada with 2,067.

The last Pan American Games were held in Lima, Peru, from 26 July to 11 August 2019; the XIX Pan American Games and the Parapan American Games (collectively known as “Santiago 2023”) will be held this year in Chile from 20 October to 26 November. It will see around seven thousand athletes from 41 nations compete in 39 Pan American sports and 17 Parapan American sports.

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