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Search for two workers trapped at Mandalay’s mine in Chile fails

Mandalay says it continues to work jointly with the national and regional authorities, and a team of experts, in the response to the flooding of the Delia NW mine.(Image: Municipalidad de Chile Chico via Twitter.)

Canada’s Mandalay Resources (TSX:MND) and Chilean authorities said Tuesday efforts to find two trapped workers at the company’s flooded silver and gold mine in the country was unsuccessful, adding that any possibility of finding them alive has been ruled out.

“We deeply regret the loss of two members of our team at Cerro Bayo,” Mandalay’s President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Sander said in the statement. “The Company offers its condolences and support to the families, friends and crew of the deceased.”

Operations at the Cerro Bayo complex are likely to remain halted for several months.

The two men, identified as Enrique Ojeda (34) and Jorge Sánchez (25), were trapped after section two of the Delia NW mine, part of Mandalay’s Cerro Bayo gold-silver complex, flooded on June 9.

Despite non-stop rescue efforts and the use of advanced technology as well as experts’ assistance, the team has been unable to find the trapped miners’ bodies.

Mining operations at Cerro Bayo’s three mines have been suspended since the incident, the company said. It added it won’t reopen them until an independent investigation into the causes of the accident are revealed, and an assessment of the risk of resuming operations has been completed.

Mandalay’s stock has been hit hard since news of the accident became public, losing more than 30% of its value since its June 8 close of 56 Canadian cents, to 39 cents at close Monday.

Cerro Bayo, which produced around 14,000 ounces of gold and 1.7 million ounces of silver last year, is located in Chile’s Aysén region, one of the country’s least populated, but which is known for its abundance of lakes and glaciers.

Search for two workers trapped at Mandalay’s mine in Chile fails

Efforts to pump water out of the flooded mine are ongoing, said Mandalay. (Image courtesy of Chile’s Ministry of Interior.)