A mining concession has been issued – the first step in authorising a full scale open air mine – for a protected area outside Velez-Rubio, in the north of the province of Almería.
Ecologistas en Accion have already filed a complaint against the concession with the fiscal general, saying that the area is protected, and pointing out that the same company had a previous concession request rejected in 2002 for the same area.
Local activists say that two areas declared to be of special archaeological interest – the ruins of a Moorish fort called Velad al Hamar, and a Bronze Age village – will disappear under the mine.
The town of Velez-Rubio also sources water from a well within the mining concession, meaning local water supplies are likely to be affected.
The mine, which is going after limestone (piedra caliza), is known as “Trinidad I”. Back in 2002 (source), the same company had applied for a mining concession in this exact area, but saw its application rejected by the Junta de Andalucia. But the economic crisis means that activities previously seen as undesirable are now being encouraged by the Junta, and locals say that the company was invited to resubmit plans last year by the Department of Mines.