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Five bodies rescued from collapsed mine in Mexico

Cieneguita dam breach. Photo by Profeta, Twitter.

Civil Defense officers rescued a fifth body from a mine site in northern Mexico where a dam filled with liquid waste collapsed last Monday. Two other miners are still missing.

A couple of workers who presented minor injuries were hospitalized earlier this week.

The dam breach took place at the Cieneguita gold-silver mine, located in the Urique municipality of the Chihuahua state. The place is operated by Minera Rio Tinto and Pan American Goldfields.

Search-and-rescue operations continue throughout 26 kilometres along the Cañitas creek, whose water now presents a white colour caused by the effluent. Waste from the dam swept away not only seven workers, but also machinery and vehicles, Mexico’s environmental prosecutor, Profepa, told Reuters.

Profepa also told local media that, since mineral recovery processes at the site do not involve the use of sodium cyanide, it is expected that only heavy metals reach nearby rivers. In the meantime, staff from the company and from the provincial government are building a rock wall 12-metres thick along the Cañitas creek mouth with the idea of containing the spill.

According to La Crónica de Chihuahua, Profepa said that the La Cieneguita dam breach released 249,000 cubic metres of tailings and 190,000 cubic metres of construction material.