Debate rages over Aznalcollar mine reopening

Should a mine that caused one of Spain’s worst environmental mishaps almost two decades ago reopen for 450 jobs?

LAST UPDATED: 26 Feb, 2015 @ 12:01
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AZNALCOLLAR mine near Sevilla is set to reopen, the government has announced, but ecologists are dubious about the company to head up the project, Grupo Mexico.

A bird's-eye view of the mines at Aznalcollar
A bird’s-eye view of the mines at Aznalcollar

The mine is surrounded by political and ecological controversy.

It was the site of an environmental catastrophe in 1998 when a dam burst, contaminating the Guadiamar river with five million cubic metres of toxic waste.

Mass contamination of wildlife and almost 40 tons of dead fish were produced by the accident.

Grupo Mexico was involved in a similarly disastrous accident last August when it had to pay $150 million to rectify a mining accident in Sonora, Mexico.

It took some €240 million to clean up the site in Aznalcollar and conservationists are on high alert as they feel politicians are focusing too much on the possible 450 new jobs created by the mine.

Ecologists in Action suggested that Susana Diaz, president of the Junta, was over-hasty in trying to resolve the issue of Aznalcollar’s mine as part of her election campaign.

The campaigning group has expressed ‘absolute distrust’ for Grupo Mexico and denounce ‘false promises’ of jobs from the PSOE party.

WWF, meanwhile, described the decision to contract the group as ‘a black day for Andalucia’s environment,’ and has accused the Andalucian government of having a ‘short memory’ for green issues.

Groups continue to fight to ensure the mine does not threaten the Donana national park, which is a Unesco world heritage site and served by the Guadiamar river.

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