THE Junta has passed a plan to begin mining in the protected Sierra de la Utrera between Casares and Manilva.

The controversial move will allow the mining for precious metals in the northern part of the area despite it being in the process of being recognised as a cultural landmark.

The ancient landscape has similarities with El Torcal in Antequera and is considered to be the most southern ‘karst’ in Europe where centuries of erosion have cut deep ridges into the rock.

Casares town hall has said the decision makes ‘no sense’ and have filed a formal complaint in conjunction with a local citizen’s group.

The area is home to numerous protected sites including the celebrated Roman baths and the Villavieja settlement.

The move is part of a broader initiative that comes under the government’s new initiative called Mining Strategy 2020 which is aiming to drastically increase mining in Andalucia.

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