A 650-foot-deep sinkhole the size of the White House appeared on land owned and operated by a Canadian mining company.
Incredible photos have been taken of a massive sinkhole connected to a copper mine that appeared in northern Chile.
The 82-foot-wide hole, which is also said to be more than 650 feet deep, appeared out of nowhere on July 30, Saturday in the Atacama Region’s Tierra Amarilla commune, next to the massive Alcaparrosa mine.
Chilean media provided aerial photos of the unusual event, which occurred on land owned and controlled by a Canadian copper mine company called Lundin Mining and is located about 413 miles north of Santiago, Chile’s capital.
Cristobal Zuniga, the town’s mayor, confirmed the existence of the sinkhole on July 31, Sunday, and expressed locals’ concern that excessive mining in the area would have disastrous consequences.
“Yesterday [Saturday, 30th July] we received a citizen complaint regarding a sinkhole that occurred here in our community near the Alcaparrosa mine,” Mayor Zuniga said. “We are concerned since it is a fear that we have always had as a community, the fact we are surrounded by mining deposits and subterranean works under our community.”
Although no official proof has been provided that the sinkhole was caused by mining operations, local officials claim that the hole is indeed expanding.
“It is still active, it is still growing and it is something that has not previously been seen in our community,” Mayor Zuniga said.
Gerardo Tapia, an Atacama Region representative, requested that Sernageomin, the National Geology and Mining Service, investigate the cause of the sinkhole’s appearance. Sernageomin’s head, David Montenegro, later confirmed that the organization had sent experts to the area to conduct analyses.
“There is a considerable distance, approximately 200 meters, to the bottom,” Montenegro said. “We haven’t detected any material down there, but we have seen the presence of a lot of water.”
Although no casualties have been reported and authorities are still monitoring the situation, residents in the area are concerned that the unexpected hole will only worsen.
According to Lundin Mining Corporation, the mine’s majority owner, the sinkhole was discovered on Saturday and operations were halted while Sernageomin conducted testing.
In a statement, the company stated: “Upon detection, the area was immediately isolated and the relevant regulatory authorities notified. There has been no impact to personnel, equipment, or infrastructure.”
“The surficial sinkhole has remained stable since detection. Minera Ojos del Salado is conducting technical analysis and gathering information to determine the cause of the event,” the statement concluded.