CORRECTED-Heavy rains in central Chile affect millions, hit copper output

domingo 17 de abril de 2016 17:23 GYT
 

(Corrects to say world's largest underground copper mine has been suspended in first paragraph)

By Anthony Esposito

SANTIAGO, April 17 (Reuters) - Heavy rains battering central Chile have left an estimated 4 million people without drinking water as landslides wreaked havoc and rivers breached their banks, leaving at least one person dead and closing the world's largest underground copper mine.

A woman was killed by a landslide in the San Jose de Maipo valley, a mountainous region just southeast of capital city Santiago, while a special police force is searching for another four people in the same area, said Ricardo Toro, the head of Chile's Onemi emergency office.

Television images showed streets in Providencia, an upscale neighborhood of Santiago, overrun by flood waters after the Mapocho River breached its banks.

Codelco, the world's top copper producer, said the rains forced the Chilean state-owned miner to suspend production at its century-old underground El Teniente mine, likely leading to the loss of 5,000 tonnes of copper.

Global miner Anglo American Plc suspended mining activities at its flagship Los Bronces copper mine and the smaller El Soldado deposit for security reasons. (Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Alan Crosby and Bill Trott)