Chile’s mining area hit by 7.6 magnitude aftershock following major 8.2 earthquake

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Collahuasi mine, Chile Image credit: flickr User: Anglo American Plc

Following the massive 8.2-magnitude earthquake responsible for six deaths in northern Chile on Tuesday, a powerful 7.6-magnitude aftershock shook the same region again on Wednesday.

Collahuasi mine, Chile Image credit: flickr User: Anglo American Plc
Collahuasi mine, Chile
Image credit: flickr User: Anglo American Plc

The aftershock was the strongest of several that followed the earthquake on Tuesday, but Chile’s emergency office (Onemi) said there were no initial reports of casualties or serious damage from the latest quake.

According to the news article on Reuters, Codelco, the state owned copper giant from Chile, as well as other major producers from the same region, announced that their workers suffered no harm and that operations in the area in question are being carried out as usual.

A spokeswoman for Glencore Xstrata and Anglo American said that Anglo American and Glencore Xstrata decided to evacuate their workers from the Collahuasi mine, but the process of normalization of operations was underway.

BHP Billiton vacated its Coloso port, which handles ore from Escondida, the largest copper mine in the world.

Chile’s north is arid and rich with minerals. The area is sparsely populated, with most of the population concentrated in the port towns of Iquique and Arica, near the Peruvian border. The new quake was located 12 miles south of Iquique.

The unusually large number of quakes that happened in the area in the last couple of weeks has led authorities and people to reinforce emergency procedures and prepare for an eventual evacuation.

The good news is that no one got hurt in the mines and towns in the last tremor; the bad news is that certain seismologists claim that the tremors were not strong enough to release the stress of the whole area where they believe the seismic gap is and warn people to prepare for the worst.

The earthquake at the largest producer of copper in the world resulted in an increase in copper prices, reaching a three-week high, jumping to $6,734 a tonne, the highest since March 10th.