Geomechanics experts from the National Geology and Mining Service (Sernageomin) are investigating the origin of a gigantic sinkhole in Tierra Amarilla, Chile, in the Atacama region, 800 kilometers north of Santiago. Residents in the community raised an alarm on Saturday about the appearance of the hole, which local authorities said is still expanding and is already 32 meters in diameter and 64 meters deep – the extension of a 26-story building.
As of this Wednesday, no workers have been affected by the phenomenon that has occurred on the land of the Alcaparrosa de Candelaria copper mining company. The company’s operations have been suspended within a 100-meter radius, as have access points. Karina Briño, Director General of Administration of Minera Candelaria, described the incident as an “incident”. “We have incoming work, but there is no information as to what may have caused the detachment,” he said.
Tierra Amarilla Mayor Cristóbal Zúñiga has expressed concern about the sinkhole, which is “still active”. “It continues to grow and it’s something that hasn’t been seen in our community. We demand that it can be clarified what is the reason and why it occurred, what are the reasons, whether the collapse is the result of the mining activity below or if it is something of a different nature,” said Zúñiga, who has corroborated The community has always been afraid of living in an area surrounded by mining deposits and underground workings. The population closest to the event lives about 600 meters away.
Sernageomin activated the regional and central Emergency Operations Committees to gather information, formulate a technical report and make recommendations to the community.
This Monday, a group of professionals from Sernageomin Regional Directorate and Central Level visited the area to look for cracks and entered the mine to determine its status. “Sernageomin specialists have been working with the company to clarify the causes and ensure all safety measures are in place to protect the lives of workers and communities near the site,” said David Montenegro, Sernageomin National Director, of the added that field work will continue.
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