By Wendy Williams

RESIDENTS and environmentalists have united to fight a plan to expand a dolomite quarry into virgin woodland near Coin.

It comes after the Town Hall controversially gave its final approval to the project earlier this month.

The developers, Prodomasa, want to extend the El Puntal quarry by 70 hectares.

They claim it is one of the principal dolomite quarries in Spain and creates 230 jobs.

But the initiative has created intense political controversy in the town as it will be carved into surrounding forest.

Critics say it will be damaging both to the environment and to the health of local residents. 

In particular, the group leading the protests – the Committee in Defence of Health and the Protection of the Coín Sierra – is concerned about the town’s water supply.

It says expansion of the quarry will be above the watershed zone for the main spring that feeds into the town’s water supply.

And a number of studies have already looked into the reasons behind the higher cancer rates in the nearby area.

The group is planning a series of protests over the next few months.

The town hall insists that the company will have to implement a reforestation plan, replacing hectare for hectare every inch of forest cut down.

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