Chile sinkhole grows large enough to swallow France’s Arc de Triomphe

Aug 7 (Reuters) – A sinkhole in Chile has doubled in size, becoming large enough to engulf France’s Arc de Triomphe, prompting authorities to order a halt to work at a nearby copper mine.

The sinkhole, which emerged on July 30, now spans 50 meters (160 ft) and has sunk 200 meters (656 ft). Seattle’s Space Needle would also fit comfortably in a black hole, as would six Christ the Redeemer statues in Brazil stacked head-to-head, giant arms outstretched.

The National Service of Geology and Mining said late Saturday that it was still investigating the gaping hole near the Alcaparosa mine operated by Canadian company Lundin Mining. (LUN.TO)About 665 km (413 mi) north of Santiago.

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In addition to ordering a halt to all work, the Geology and Mines Service said it was beginning a “permitting process”. The agency did not provide details on what that action would entail.

Lundin did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company said last week that the hole did not affect workers or community members and that it was working to determine the cause. Read on

Lundin owns 80% of the assets and Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation holds the rest.

Initially, the hole near the town of Tierra Amarilla measured about 25 meters (82 ft) across, with water visible at the bottom. Read on

The Geology and Mines Service said it had installed dewatering pumps at the mine and that the mine’s underground chambers would be inspected over the next few days for possible overburden.

Local officials have expressed concern that the Alcaparosa mine could flood underground and destabilize the surrounding land. It will be “something completely normal,” Tierra Amarilla Mayor Cristobal Zuniga told local media.

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Reporting by Marion Giraldo; Written by Diana Beth Solomon; Editing by Lisa Schumacher

Our Standards: Principles of Thomson Reuters Trust.

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