Castilla-La Mancha mining halted to save bird species

Activists from 'Sí a la Tierra Viva' organized against precious metals mining in Castilla-La Mancha. Photo: El Diario
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• Regional environment ministry calls for precious metals mining to be blocked
• Activists collect 14K local signatures to stop project, save endangered species

A controversial project for an open-pit precious metals mining operation in the Campos de Montiel region of Castilla-La Mancha has been all but cancelled, following the filing of a report by regional Environment Ministry that says the project would irrevocably alter or damage the habitat of protected species, including the endangered Iberian lynx, the Imperial Eagle and the Red Kite.

Recommending clearly that “this project must be rejected,” the Castilla-La Mancha ministry’s report strongly disputed an environmental impact study presented by Spanish mining company Quantum Mineria, which operates precious metals mining projects in Spain, South America and Africa, and comes on the heels of the collection of 14,000 signatures of local citizens collected by the environmental activist platform Sí a la Tierra Viva (Yes to a Living Earth Platform”) protesting the proposed open-pit mining operation.

Three Quantum Mineria projects proposed for the Campos de Montiel area had hoped to exploit precious metals said to be found nowhere else in the European Union that are critical for the manufacture of high-tech equipment in the computer and biotechnology industries.

According to activists, the Quantum project — which is now all but certain to be blocked by the governing Socialist party administration of regional Castilla-La Mancha president Emiliano García-Page — would have impacted a 10-kilometer zone around the mine operation, seriously undermining the natural habitat of additional endangered species, including the black vulture, the royal eagle and the Eurasian otter.

► Read More in Spanish at El País and El Diario …

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