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Founder of Conymet Duratray dies aged 78

Top businessman Manuel Medel Lepe, founder of the antofagastine company Conymet Duratray, one of the world’s top three dump body manufacturers, died Tuesday night.

A native of Talca, Medel aged 25 relocated to Antofagasta. In September of 1973, he founded the Constructora y Metalúrgica Manuel Medel Lepe Ltda. (Conymet) as a multipurpose masonry that was servicing mining equipment and servicing Chuquicamata.

In 1984, the firm began its industrialization challenge by launching its first mining dump body, becoming the first company in Latin America to manufacture such a component.

In the 1990s, Conymet expanded its operations by opening production plants in Iquique, Calama, La Negra and Santiago, which added to its plant and headquarters in Antofagasta. However, it is not until 1996 that the firm surprises the mining environment by creating the concept of High Volume Light Tolerance (TAE).


In 2001, with his son Manuel Medel Echeverría as general manager, Conymet faces a new and risky challenge: to become an international company.

To that end, they acquire the Duratray division of Australian firm Dunlop Pacific for $26 million US, which manufactured a wide range of industrial technology products, among which was a sophisticated and innovative design of dump bodies. Conymet Duratray International is born.

In this regard, his son Manuel commented that his father “deserves to be remembered as a patriarch who always watched over the emotional and economic sustenance of his 7 children, and his family in general. Today we remember him with great love, pride and much gratitude. “

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