4 February 2020
Mina Pecket: a dramatic landslide in an open cast coal mine in 2014
In recent years I have repeatedly highlighted the high rate of landslides associated with mining operations. Regular reader Hig kindly highlighted an interesting example to me in Patagonia, which is well-imaged on Google Earth. This is at Mina Pecket in the very south of Chile, location -52.96, -71.16. At this location there is a large open cast coal mine close to a fjord in Punta Arenas. This Google Earth image, collected in October 2013, shows the site. The yellow bar is 200 metres long, showing that this is a large mine:-
The Google Earth image below was taken in September 2016. The northeast face of the mine has collapsed completely.
The image below provides a better perspective of the collapse itself:-
The collapse appear to be a very large slump that has involved a block approximately 650 metres long and 300 metres wide. According to news reports, the landslide occurred on 1 April 2014. In the aftermath of the landslide, Sernageomin, the National Geology and Mining Service, presented the operator with a 120 day deadline to outline how operations would be reactivated at the mine. However, in August 2014 operations were suspended for a minimum of two years. Satellite images suggest that operations at this part of the mine at least have not restarted.
This appears to be another case of a large landslide disrupting mining operations. It would be interesting to know more about the failure, and in particular whether the collapse had been anticipated.