By Oscar Martinez, Latin American Editor, E&MJ
The General Directorate of Water (DGA in Spanish), an agency of the Chilean Ministry of Public Works, established that the mining activity at the Alcaparrosa mine, which is part of Lundin Mining’s Candelaria complex, damaged the Copiapó River aquifer. As a result of a sinkhole that occurred on July 30, 2022, near Tierra Amarilla, the DGA concluded the subsidence affected the aquifer. DGA assessed a $138,000 fine against Alcaparrosa, the highest amount allowable under the law.
Chile’s Ministry of Mining said the subsidence occurred in the underground galleries of the Alcaparrosa. The DGA is the first service to close an investigative process in accordance with its powers and to issue a fine. It also ordered the mine to design a monitoring system and develop a follow-up plan for the underground water system within 45 days.
Lundin Mining has two options: pay the fine within 30 business days, or file an appeal for reconsideration.
The company said it is performing its own investigation. They also said that, since July, they have been focusing efforts to minimize the impact on employment due to the suspension of production and to develop an engineering project to stop the infiltration of water at the Alcaparrosa mine. The mitigation plan would also address the effects of the sinkhole. The central objectives are to fill the sinkhole and dewater the mine.