PROMOTING THE REOPENING OF MINES
We need mines. A statement that is just as powerful as it is accurate. For a country to advance, its mines and their operations –properly legislated– are vital. Why? Basically, the use of minerals in industries is necessary for the manufacturing of consumer goods, something that directly influences the wealth and well-being of a society. Along these lines, we are going to tackle a specific issue: the reopening of mines and the possible promotion of doing so.
In a country like Spain, the consequences of not having any mines would be terrible. Especially for the economy. In this day and age, society lacks information and communication about mining. It is important to explain how mineral reserves have innumerable benefits for a nation, whether from an economic or social point of view.
For example, buildings and streets are constructed with industrial materials. Streets and electrical wiring would not be possible without mineral resources. Sectors like agriculture and farming need these resources that come from sulfates, phosphates, kaolin and carbonates for fertilizers, which provide nutrients for plant growth. Practically all areas benefit from mining.
One of the main problems found in the mining industry is regarding the environment. We must keep in mind that in the majority of mines and quarries where there are minerals to be extracted, work can be done without seriously interfering with human activity, heritage or with nature.
Revision of mining environmental liabilities
In Andalusia, an inventory of environmental liabilities is being conducted –dumps, abandoned ponds and mine drainage– of the three thousand seven hundred mines that are in its geographical area. This job –with tender offer of one and a half million euros– has an established deadline of four years. The objective is to know exactly what the recuperation tasks of each mine are to regain investor confidence. Within this project, an analysis of three hundred water samples and eight hundred ground samples is expected. Efforts that are much applauded by companies in the mining sector.
In the last two decades of the past century there have been many companies interested in reopening abandoned mines –such as those of Riotinto and Aznalcóllar–, but more than mining projects, they should make plans to restore the environment. At least a dozen companies have come to Andalusia –interested in mining– and have refrained from launching projects due to this uncertainty.
What we can say is that Andalusia is carrying out a mining desk study and thanks to that, the regional government predicted a fifteen percent increase for the provisional list of mines –3,131 mines– leaving in the end up to three thousand six hundred mines. Currently, there are three big mines that are active: Aguas Teñidas and Riotinto (Huelva) and Cobre Las Cruces (Seville), and at certain times of the reopening process are Aznalcóllar (Seville) and Alquife (Granada).