Los Gallardos mining row

A row has erupted after people woke up this week in Los Gallardos to discover their land had been seized for a quarry without them being told.

A company from the Pais Vasco called Minera de Órgiva has been issued prospecting rights over 240 ha in Los Gallardos and Antas. They’re searching for alabaster (used to make windows), serpentine (used in the steel industry) and marble.

The Junta de Andalucia has issued prospecting rights to the company, which means they’re allowed on the land without consulting with the landowners and if they find anything they can apply to open a quarry on the land without having to consult the landowners. Compensation would be paid but….

The landowners, which include a couple of medium sized companies, all deny having received any of the official notifications you’re supposed to get during the allegations period.

In short, the process is supposed to be negotiated with landowners. If no negotiation is possible and the Junta deems it important enough, then prospecting rights can be issued against the will of the individual landowner.

Except that in this case, and not for the first time, landowners rights have been “lost in the paperwork” until it’s too late to do anything but moan to the press and start a very long, complicated and expensive court case.

The Junta is currently going full blast issuing prospecting rights across Almeria in the hope of kickstarting a new mining boom in the province.

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