Meeting on the mine

Res­i­dents at­tend en masse to hear about the con­tro­ver­sial project - and are told about a protest on Sun­day

Costa Blanca News (South Edition) - - Front Page - Nperez@cbnews.es

Around 175 ex­pats at­tended a meeting in English on Mon­day morn­ing about the project for an open-cast mine in San Miguel de Sali­nas. A protest has been planned for Sun­day.

By Nuria Pérez AROUND 175 ex­pats at­tended a meeting in English on Mon­day morn­ing about the project for an open-cast mine in San Miguel de Sali­nas.

Or­gan­iser Manolo Gómez, who is pres­i­dent of San Miguel Ar­cán­gel res­i­dents’ as­so­ci­a­tion, noted that a num­ber of the res­i­dents have joined the fight against the scheme.

Most of them were Bri­tish ex­pats liv­ing in nearby ur­ban­i­sa­tions such as Las Filip­inas, Tor­restrella and Ci­u­dad de las Co­mu­ni­ca­ciones, but peo­ple also at­tended from Tor­re­mendo vil­lage.

They were told about the stages of the scheme – prospect­ing first and, if the re­sults are pos­i­tive, a re­quest to run an open-cast mine.

The res­i­dents were also shown a video of the min­ing com­pany and a map of the area af­fected.

“When they saw the area on Google Maps and the video about sim­i­lar mines, they were shocked and many of them have de­cided to do some­thing about it,” ex­plained Sr Gómez.

“They re­alised how close the scheme would be to their homes and the en­vi­ron­men­tal and fi­nan­cial threat it poses to the town and them­selves.

"It is very im­por­tant that the scheme is stopped be­fore a li­cence to prospect is is­sued, be­cause this and the open-cast mine project are di­rectly linked.”

Sr Gómez noted that res­i­dents have joined the as­so­ci­a­tion’s pe­ti­tion cam­paign and will ask their friends and neigh­bours to sign.

Other ex­pats will dis­trib­ute leaflets at the weekly mar­ket about a demon­stra­tion planned for Sun­day.

Oth­ers have asked to at­tend the meet­ings of the an­timine com­mit­tee which is made up of as­so­ci­a­tion mem­bers, traders, neigh­bours, farm­ers, land own­ers and lo­cal busi­ness­peo­ple.

The demon­stra­tion starts at 12.00 from Calle 19 de Abril and fin­ishes at the church square.

Peo­ple will be asked to sign the pe­ti­tion, which will be at­tached to the of­fi­cial ob­jec­tions to the project and sub­mit­ted to the re­gional depart­ment for in­dus­try.

Sr Gómez told Costa Blanca News that sev­eral Bri­tish real es­tate agen­cies, the com­mu­nity of own­ers of Las Coli­nas golf and some build­ing com­pa­nies have also con­tacted the as­so­ci­a­tion.

“The fight does not stop when the of­fi­cial ob­jec­tions are sub­mit­ted,” he said.

“I re­it­er­ate that the li­cence for prospect­ing should not be is­sued un­der any cir­cum­stances, be­cause if this hap­pens it will be very hard to pre­vent the open-cast mine project from get­ting the goa­head.”

On Wed­nes­day a full coun­cil meeting also de­cided to sub­mit of­fi­cial ob­jec­tions against the scheme be­cause it stands in a na­ture area with high en­vi­ron­men­tal val­ues.

The coun­cil high­lighted that the scheme is at a very ini­tial stage and an open-cast mine ‘is not in sight’.

How­ever, na­tional min­ing law dat­ing back to 1973 grants min­ing the dis­tinc­tion of be­ing an ‘ac­tiv­ity of gen­eral in­ter­est’ and gives it ‘pri­or­ity’.

The com­pany has asked to prospect for gyp­sum in a 1,400-hectare area in San Miguel de Sali­nas and Ori­huela.

It runs from the Camino de la Balsa road up to Torre Estrella and Ci­u­dad de las Co­mu­ni­ca­ciones ur­ban­i­sa­tions, down to La Pe­dr­era reser­voir and the en­trance of the town at the CV-95 road to Ori­huela.

It was stand­ing room only as ex­pats crammed in to lis­ten to Manuel Gómez

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