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major coal-mining centre, southern Chile, on the Golfo (gulf) de Arauco. Although Lota was founded in 1662, sustained development did not begin until 1852, when the industrialist Matias Cousino started a coal-mining enterprise. Completion of a railway from Concepcion, 20 mi (32 km) north, in 1888 stimulated growth. Other industries in Lota include a brick and refractories plant and a copper smelter; it is a coaling station for coastal vessels. Operating and administrative facilities and a planned company town are found in Lota Alto (Upper Lota); Lota Bajo (Lower Lota) is the commercial and residential community. Renowned in Chile for its scenic beauty is the local Isidora Cousino Park. Pop. (2002) 48,975.