Those of us who live close to the hole met with workers from Candelaria. They assured us we faced no danger, but I do not believe them. Years ago their multi-million dollar contract gave them access to all the silver in the ground and left nothing for the people.
TIERRA AMARILLA, Chile ꟷ On July 30, 2022 an enormous sinkhole appeared in the ground 600 meters (less than a half mile) from my home. The hole, which is 36 meters in diameter and 60 meters deep, distresses me from the moment I wake up until I go to bed. If something happens during the day, I can act but I fear sleeping at night.
An announcement appeared in the newspaper declaring a major emergency with a nearby mine, which is suspected to be the cause of this and other sinkholes. The article instructed citizens not to enter the mine due to the danger of collapse. My community and I feel stressed and afraid.
I spent my entire life of 57 years in Tierra Amarilla. Thirty years ago, the mining company arrived. Before they came, our people lived in the valley, full of pure air and a sense of calm. When the mines came, we did not know how to organize ourselves. They brought wealth to our very poor region and citizens believed the illusion that the big mining company would give work to our husbands and neighbors.
Since that day, more miners came and exploited our town. First they settled in Tierra Amarilla, then Alcaparrosa. Soon they moved into Santos, Ojos del Salado, Carola, Pucobre, and Atacama Kozan. Everywhere we looked, mining exploitation surrounded us.
Soon we found ourselves living in a polluted place, constantly suspended in dust, plagued by unbearable blasting which feels like a grade six tremor. Though we became somewhat used to it, when relatives visit from Santiago, we see their fear. When the blasts go off at 3:30 in the afternoon or at 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning, we tell our guests not to be scared.
Children become startled at first, when they hear the sounds and feel the ground shaking. Peace no longer exists here.
The first sinkhole appeared in 2013 at the Santos mine. No one understood what happened. The people who lived there were forced to leave and redistribute to a newly created village called Los Aromos. Sernageomin (The National Geology and Mining Service) delivered no data at that time. As a result, the people do not trust the studies being done by them and by Candelaria (the Canadian mining complex under the parent organization Lundin). We want independent studies.
Those of us who live close to the hole met with workers from Candelaria. They assured us we faced no danger, but I do not believe them. Years ago, their multi-million-dollar contract gave them access to all the silver in the ground and left nothing for the people. I question the presence of water in the sink hole. Leaked videos appear to show a frightening amount of water, after we heard assumptions that the ground was dry.
Chilean President Gabriel Boric promised to invest resources into further study of the sinkhole. We want to know if there are tunnels under the city. If a worker enters the mine in Alcaparrosa and exits at Santos, it seems like they would have to pass right underneath us. If the tunnels exist and water floods them, it has to come out somewhere. Now, new cracks appeared in the ground in a circle. It looks like another sinkhole forming.
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