A Canadian mining company will fill the mysterious chasm of Chile

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SANTIAGO – Canada’s Lundin Mining plans to fill in a giant mysterious sinkhole near its copper mine in Chile, an ambitious plan that will also see it attempt to pump water that has seeped into the mine, an official told Reuters on Thursday. senior company executive.

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The massive 36-meter-diameter sinkhole that opened up in late July in the commune of Tierra Amarilla, about 665 kilometers (413 miles) north of the capital Santiago, has caught the world’s attention and made the subject of charges by the authorities against Lundin.

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Studies to determine the causes of the sinkhole are already at « decisive stages » and a « technical body is already receiving all the information to be able to draw conclusions », Luis Sanchez, president of a local unit in Lundin, told Reuters.

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The executive said that regardless of the outcome, the company plans to fill the hole using materials such as sand and rocks with the same characteristics as a river bed, as well as completely seal the affected part of the hole. the mine.

Sanchez declined to predict the amount of hardware that would be needed or the total cost, although he said the company had already spent around $10 million fixing the problem.

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The executive said that from 300 to 330 liters of water per second that had seeped into the mine initially, the level dropped to 10 to 30 liters per second due to sealing works.

A sinkhole is discovered in a mining area near Tierra Amarilla, in Copiapo, Chile, August 7, 2022.
A sinkhole is discovered in a mining area near Tierra Amarilla, in Copiapo, Chile, August 7, 2022. Photo by Johan Godoy /Reuters

« We are seeing a positive development in the recovery of the aquifer levels and that means we can look positively at this solution and we can say that we are not facing irreparable damage as some authorities have indicated, » he said. Sanchez said.

The program will also attempt to pump 1.3 million cubic meters of water remaining in the lower levels of the reservoir to other industrial users in the area in exchange for stopping the extraction of these resources from the aquifer, Sanchez said.

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