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Chile: they investigate whether the mining company Candelaria over-extracted copper that left a huge hole in the ground

Chile: they investigate whether the mining company Candelaria over-extracted copper that left a huge hole in the ground

Images of the huge sinkhole that affects northern Chile… (Video by GdroneAtacama)

Chilean authorities are closely following the evolution of the dangerous borehole that has emerged in the north of the country. Among the latest developments “material over-extraction” was detected, which led to the issuance of various measures against a mining company.

At the end of July, the appearance of a huge sinkhole was detected in the town of Tierra Amarilla, in the north of the country. The mayor of that place, Cristóbal Zúñiga, was one of the first to release the background of this huge hole. “Yesterday (Saturday, July 30) we received a citizen complaint regarding a sinkhole that would have happened here in our community near Mina Alcaparrosawhich is part of Minera Candelaria”, said the authority.

“We are concerned, since it is a fear that we have always had as a community, that there are mining deposits and underground works around our community,” said Cristóbal Zúñiga, mayor of Tierra Amarilla, said “It’s still active, it’s still growing and it’s something we don’t see in our community.”

Immediately the authorities went to the place to do the first works on the land. Among these, it was calculated that the sink is currently 36.5 meters in diameter, although the bottom diameter has remained stable at 48 meters and the depth has decreased to 62 meters.

Even the situation in Chile had such an impact the prosecution opened an investigation into the appearance of the huge holeall this to determine if there is a crime of an environmental nature.

Letters in the subject

The Chilean authorities are closely monitoring the evolution of the borehole in Chile.  REUTERS/Johan Godoy
The Chilean authorities are closely monitoring the evolution of the borehole in Chile. REUTERS/Johan Godoy

Several days after the appearance of this hole the Chilean authorities closely follow the evolution of this phenomenonordering a series of urgent and temporary measures against the Ojos del Salado Contract Mining Company for the massive borehole affecting the Alcaparrosa Mine.

First, the Environmental Supervisor(s), Emanuel Ibarra, said that during visits to the area. “It was felt that the company would be over-extracting contentwhich may lead to an increase in poorly controlled logging waters”.

So would be the first measure conduct a soil stability study in the “direct impact area of ​​the subsidence event looking at a radius of 500 to 800 meters“, and deliver a technical study to verify “if the volumes of light water extracted by Mina Ojos del Salado have generated or not harmed the alluvial aquifer of the Copiapó River or another aquifer in the area”.

As a third measure, he was ordered to “monitoring the daily water table level of wells HA-02, and wells 8 to well 16″ and in the fourth point it was ordered to “carry out a hydrogeochemical analysis of the main compounds and trace elements of the ground water illuminated in the Gaby Mansion sector”.

Finally, the last two measures relate to “delivering a technical study with the following two objectives: i) to evaluate the effectiveness of the underground drainage system currently installed and ii) to recommend alternatives for operational improvements in light of the situation resulting from the incident.which must comply with the corresponding sector regulations”, and another study on the “biodiversity of the Priority Site of the Copiapó River, considering at least the area of ​​influence of the hydrological component shown in the EIA project “Continuity of Operation of the Alcaparrosa Mine”.

The measures must be resolved i 30 business days from notice of intentwhich happened on August 12 last.

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