Movement over the mine plan
IU deputy reports the prospection application to Europe
By Nuria Pérez THE AREA to prospect for gypsum in San Miguel de Salinas – which residents feared could lead to the opening of an open-cast mine – is to be dramatically reduced by the regional government to protect the future Sierra Escalona natural park.
Local councillor for environment María José Costa Medrano revealed the news on Wednesday following a meeting with the regional councillor for the economy, Rafael Climent. Sra Costa told Costa Blanca News that the regional department has produced a binding report banning any research for mining purposes in the protected site and limiting any such activity to ‘just two or three areas’.
“The area is so small that we feel prospecting would not be of interest to the company involved,” she said.
“We are optimistic and think any such scheme would not get the final go-ahead.”
President of San Miguel Arcángel residents’ association, Manuel Gómez said one of areas which has not been excluded from the scheme, is very close to homes at Las Filipinas, Mirador del Mediterráneo and Ciudad de las Comunicaciones and stands next to the Camino de la Balsa road.
According to Sr Gómez, the other area runs from the road to Torremendo to the CV-95 to Vistabella, Entrenaranjos and Los Montesinos.
“Any project in these areas might not have an impact on the environment, but it would have an impact on the properties,” he said.
“The administrative procedure is on-going and the fight is not over until the final report banning the scheme has been issued, which should be before February.”
He announced that a meeting in Spanish and English will be held in the coming days to update residents and stressed that further protest action is planned to make the regional government aware of residents’ opposition to the scheme.
At the same time, Sra Medrano said that another report is pending regarding the impact on the landscape from the regional department for land and housing.
Moreover, the regional department for economy, which has the final say, has to decide whether to heed numerous objections to the scheme from San Miguel de Salinas and Orihuela councils, landowners and the residents’ association.
Report to the EU The gypsum project was reported to the European Parliament last week by United Left (IU) MEP Marina Albiol.
Sra Albiol noted that the application to prospect for gypsum was itself a risk for the Sierra Escalona and that the scheme did not adhere to several EU environmental directives.
“It makes no sense that the regional environment department will award protected status to the Sierra Escalona and the regional department for economy could support such a damaging scheme in the area,” she said.
María José Costa Medrano