The growing sinkhole in Pinzán Morado. The growing sinkhole in Pinzán Morado.

Abandoned mine tunnel blamed for sinkhole putting houses at risk

Seven families have had to be evacuated from their homes

A large part of a Guerrero town is at risk of caving in due to the tunnels of an old mine.

The first red flag in Pinzán Morado, located in the municipality of Coyuca de Catalán, was a sinkhole that appeared on July 1. In the rainy month and half since then, it has grown to a diameter of 40 meters and a depth of 100.

Residents of of seven nearby homes have had to evacuate, while 30 more dwellings are at risk. Their occupants have started to move their belongings, fearing the worst.

Resident Cirilo Castro told the newspaper Milenio that the nearby Calentana mine operated for more than 25 years before it was shut down three years ago.

He explained that the sinkhole could well be the result of overexploitation by the gold and silver mine, which left tunnels about 30 meters below the surface.

State Civil Protection officials have cordoned off the area surrounding the sinkhole, and have ordered the evacuation of a preschool.

“We need help because we’re indeed at risk; the kindergarten has been evacuated, but we don’t have anywhere to send the children instead . . . ” said municipal representative Filiberto García Maldonado, suggesting that the evacuation of a nearby secondary school could soon follow.

Last Friday, the municipality filed a complaint with the public prosecutor against the mining company, whose legal representatives have indicated that land could be purchased to relocate homeowners affected by the sinkhole.

But residents fear the same thing could happen anywhere else in the area due to the old tunnels and are asking the company to conduct a study to confirm the land is safe. They would also like to know whether the town’s remaining 100 homes are also at risk.

Source: Milenio (sp), El Sur (sp)

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