SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Peru’s environmental watchdog said on Sunday it was investigating a tailings spill from a unit of Southern Copper Corp, one of the world’s largest copper producers, into a river in an area that has been inundated by heavy rains.
The Agency of Evaluation and Environmental Enforcement (OEFA) said the spill occurred in the waste deposit area of the Cuajone mining operations of Southern Copper, located in the Moquegua region approximately 535 miles (860 km) southeast of Lima.
OEFA investigators at the Cuajone mine said a “flow of a greenish solution” into the Torata River since Friday has stopped.
“According to a preliminary report presented by the company, the environmental emergency occurred due to extreme rainfall throughout the southern zone of the country and, as a result, they activated the contingency plan of the mining unit,” said the state-owned OEFA in a release.
Representatives of Southern Copper, which is controlled by Grupo Mexico, were not immediately available to comment.