Chile to sanction those responsible for sinkhole near copper mine
The mysterious hole measuring 36.5 meters (119.7 feet) in diameter that emerged in late July has provoked the mobilization of local authorities and led the mining regulator Sernageomin to suspend operations of a nearby mine owned by Canada's Lundin LUN.TO in the northern district of Candelaria.
"We are going to go all the way with consequences, to sanction, not just fine," Mining Minister, Marcela Hernando, said in a press release, adding that fines tend to be insignificant and the ruling must be "exemplary" to mining companies.
Chilean authorities have not provided details of the investigation into the causes of the sinkhole.
Local and foreign media showed various aerial images of the huge hole in a field near the Lundin Mining operation, about 665 kilometres north of the Chilean capital.
Initially, the hole, near the town of Tierra Amarilla, measured about 25 meters (82 feet) across, with water visible at the bottom.
The Canadian firm owns 80% of the property, while the remaining 20% is in the hands of Japan's Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd and Sumitomo Corp.
The Public Affairs manager at Ojos del Salado mine (linked to Lundin) said the company was working with authorities to determine what caused the sinkhole.
Locals from Tierra Amarilla took the streets on Sunday, as its mayor, Cristobal Zuniga, said they want this sinkhole to set a precedent in that community’s string of infringements.