THE PRESIDENT of Gogebic Taconite is facing criminal charges over alleged sustained damage to the environment in Sevilla.
Bill Williams is one of three men wanted in relation to a 2008 criminal charge filed against four executives of the Spanish mining firm Cobre Las Cruces.
It is alleged that the company illegally constructed tailings ponds with contaminated water, conducted illegal groundwater drawdown, and contaminated the Posadas-Gerena aquifer with arsenic. The aquifer was reserved for irrigation and human consumption in times of drought.
The three officials include Williams, who was director of mining for the project until January of 2011, as well as Francois Fleury, an official with the Canadian parent company, Inmet Mining, who also served as chief executive officer of Cobre Las Cruces, and Paz Cosmen, the company’s environmental director. A fourth official, Juan Carlos Baquero, the firm’s director of water management had charges against him dismissed earlier in the process by Spanish Judge Ana Escribano.
Under Spanish law, the parties named in criminal and civil charges are permitted to appeal the allegations.