A mysterious sinkhole about 200 metres deep appeared near a copper mine in the Atacama desert in Chile on July 30, 2022. The sinkhole, which is about 32 metres in diameter on the surface, has left everyone baffled.
The land in which the sinkhole appeared belongs to the Alcaparrosa de Candelaria underground copper mining operation, a statement released by the National Service of Geology and Mining (Sernageomin) said. The agency detected the sinkhole on July 30, and immediately sent professionals to the site to collect information and prepare a technical report.
The land is operated by Lundin Mining Corporation, a Canadian company that owns mines. According to a report published by news agency Reuters, the Lundin Mining copper mine is located about 665 kilometres north of Santiago, the capital of Chile.
Specialists, Lundin Mining Company Working To Clarify The Causes
David Montenegro, Director of Sernageomin, said that the event did not affect people, equipment or facilities both inside and on the surface of the mine, according to the statement. He also said that Minera Ojos del Salado, which consists of the Santos and Alcaparrosa underground mines, fenced the perimeter of the sinkhole to protect the people who work in the Alcaparrosa Mine.
Quoting Montenegro, the Reuters report said there is a considerable distance, approximately 200 metres to the bottom. He also said that no material has been detected at the bottom of the sinkhole, but the presence of a lot of water can be seen.
According to the statement released by the National Service of Geology and Mining, Montenegro said that on Monday, Sernageomin specialists worked together with the Lundin Mining company to clarify the causes and ensure that all security measures are taken to safeguard the lives of workers and communities near the site.
A security perimeter of 100 metres has been established around the sinkhole.
Cristian Zuniga, the mayor of the Tierra Amarilla municipality, near which the sinkhole was detected, said the sinkhole was unprecedented, and has sought clarification on whether the collapse is the product of mining activity or something else, news agency AFP reported.
The home closest to the sinkhole is more than 600 metres away while any populated area or public service is almost a kilometre away from the affected zone, media reports said.
Sinkhole Has “Remained Stable” Since Its Detection
According to a statement released by Lundin Mining, the sinkhole did not affect any personnel, equipment or infrastructure. Also, the sinkhole has “remained stable” since its detection.
“The surficial sinkhole has remained stable since detection. Minera Ojos del Salado is conducting a technical analysis and gathering information to determine the cause of the event. The Alcaparrosa mine, which is part of the Minera Ojos del Salado operations, is continuously monitored and no movement has been detected related to the surficial sinkhole,” the statement said.
Also, development work in an area of the Alcaparrosa underground mines has been temporarily suspended as a preventive measure. According to Lundin Mining, the temporary suspension of work is not expected to impact annual guidance for the Candelaria Copper Mining Complex.
Chile is the largest producer of copper in the world, and is responsible for 28 per cent of global copper production.
#Mysterious #Sinkhole #Metres #Deep #Appears #Chile #Leaves #Baffled