Experts in Chile are investigating, Tuesday, a huge pit, larger than a tennis court, that has emerged near a copper mine in the Atacama Desert.
Experts were sent to examine the crater, about 32 meters (104 feet) in diameter and twice as deep, which appeared in an area about 500 miles north of Santiago over the weekend, the National Geology and Mining Service (Sernagomen) He said in a statement.
A 100-meter security perimeter has been erected around the hole in the municipality of Tierra Amarilla, near the Alcaparosa mine operated by Canadian Lundin Mining.
“There has been no impact on personnel, equipment or infrastructure,” the company said in a statement, and the hole has remained stable since its discovery.
As a precaution, the company said, “Development work in the Alcaparrosa underground mine area has been temporarily suspended.”
David Montenegro, director of Sernagomen, said experts will seek to determine the cause of the collapse and “ensure that all safety measures are taken to protect the lives of workers and communities close to the site.”
Cristian Zuniga, the mayor of Tierra Amarilla, which has a population of 13,000, told reporters the sinkhole was unprecedented.
“We ask for clarification of the reason…is the collapse caused by mining activity or something else,” he said.
Chile is the world’s largest copper producer, responsible for a quarter of global supplies.
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