Massive sinkhole appears near Chile copper mine

The sinkhole appeared over the weekend. Photo: Reuters
The sinkhole appeared over the weekend. Photo: Reuters
Chilean authorities have started investigating a mysterious sinkhole about 25 metres in diameter that appeared over the weekend in a mining area in the north of the country.

Chilean media showed aerial images of the sinkhole on land operated by a Canadian Lundin Mining LUN.TO copper mine, about 665km north of the capital Santiago.

The National Service of Geology and Mining (Sernageomin) became aware of the sinkhole on Saturday (local time) and has sent specialist personnel to the area, the agency's director David Montenegro said in a statement.

"There is a considerable distance, approximately 200 metres, to the bottom," Montenegro said. "We haven't detected any material down there, but we have seen the presence of a lot of water."

Sernageomin reported the closure of areas from the entrance to the work site of the Alcaparrosa mine, located near the sinkhole.

In a statement, Lundin Mining said the sinkhole did not affect any workers or community members.

"The closest home is more than 600 metres away, while any populated area or public service are almost a kilometre away from the affected zone," the statement read.

Lundin Mining owns 80% of the property and the rest is held by Japan's Sumitomo Corporation.

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