Chile imposes measures on a mining company for a giant sinkhole

The SMA has ordered six “urgent and transitional” measures as it continues to investigate the causes that created the sinkhole which measures 36.5 meters (129 feet) in diameter in Tierra Amarilla, some 665 km (413 miles) north of Santiago.

“After several inspection visits to the area, we detected that the company was over-mining material, which may have caused an increase in outcropping water which was not adequately controlled,” the superintendent said. of the environment, Emmanuel Ibarra.

Mines Minister Marcela Hernando said last week that the government would seek to impose tough sanctions on those responsible for the sinkhole, citing overexploitation of the nearby deposit.

The measures announced on Tuesday include a soil stability study, monitoring of levels in the sinkhole, a hydrogeochemical analysis of major compounds and trace elements in groundwater, and a study assessing the current drainage system.

The regulator has also commissioned a study to verify whether the volumes of water extracted by the Ojos del Salado mine have harmed nearby aquifers.

The Canadian company owns 80% of the property, while the remaining 20% ​​is in the hands of Japanese companies Sumitomo Metal Mining and Sumitomo Corporation.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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