Authorities have lifted tsunami warnings along Chile’s long coast after a 8.2-magnitude earthquake struck off the South American nation, which produces more copper than any other country. Mining was unaffected by the tremors and accompanying 6-ft tsunami, though global prices jumped amid supply fears since the most prolific north bore the event’s brunt.
State-owned miner Codelco and other major copper producers, accordingly, reported no injuries or damage with mining projects in northern Chile and they are fully operational. Nonetheless, the massive Collahuasi mine was evacuated so workers could be with families; Chile is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone nations.
Elsewhere, Tuesday’s quake sparked landslides, blocking roads and blacking out power for thousands; an airport was also damaged and fires destroyed several businesses, prompting a regional state of emergency. In Arica, another nearby city, hospitals reported minor injuries while five deaths were reported.
The U.S. Geological Survey recorded Tuesday’s quake epicenter at 12.5 miles deep, 60 miles northwest of the key port of Iquique, which was also unaffected — remarkably, given the scale of the seismic shift.
The port, near Peru’s border and 900 miles north of Santiago, had been on high alert following an unusual number of recent tremors. And with good reason. In particular, according to geological experts, the Nazca and South American tectonic plates rub up against each other in the Pacific Ocean off of Iquique — and a huge “seismic gap” has been culminating. Still fresh, meanwhile, are memories of 2010’s 8.8-metered quake, which killed 526, destroyed 220,000 homes, and washed away many coastal communities.