Mystery Chile sinkhole opens up near underground mine

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Stunning images have emerged of a massive sinkhole that has opened up near an underground mining operation in northern Chile.

The sinkhole, which Chilean officials estimate is 105 feet wide and 210 feet deep, first appeared Saturday.

“Upon detection, the area was immediately isolated and the relevant regulatory authorities notified,” Lundin Mining, a Canadian company that owns the site, said in a statement. “There has been no impact to personnel, equipment or infrastructure.”

The company also said the sinkhole has remained “stable since detection.”

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An aerial view taken on Monday, Aug. 1, showing a large sinkhole that appeared over the weekend near the mining town of Tierra Amarilla, Copiapo Province, in the Atacama Desert in Chile.
(Johan Godoy/AFP via Getty Images)

“The Alcaparrosa mine, which is part of the Minera Ojos del Salado operations, is continuously monitored and no movement has been detected related to the surficial sinkhole,” it added.

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It is not immediately clear why the sinkhole opened up.

A 328-foot security perimeter has been erected around the hole near the Alcaparrosa mine operated by Canadian firm Lundin Mining.

A 328-foot security perimeter has been erected around the hole near the Alcaparrosa mine operated by Canadian firm Lundin Mining.
(Johan Godoy/AFP via Getty Images)

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Chile’s National Service of Geology and Mining, also called Sernageomin, said its staff has visited the site to collect information and prepare a technical report.

The sinkhole has remained stable since detection, Lundin Mining says.

The sinkhole has remained stable since detection, Lundin Mining says.
(Reuters/Johan Godoy)

“Professionals from the Regional Directorate and from the central level of Sernageomin toured the area verifying what had happened, to see if there were any cracks, and entered the mine to see its real state,” said David Montenegro, its national director.

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