Atalaya Mining noqueada en Huelva, tocada en Touro y hundida en Londres

Atalaya Mining knocked back in Huelva, weakened in Galicia, sent tumbling in London

Mientras la conselleira de Medio Ambiente se compromete a recibir a los vecinos de Touro y O Pino, el Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Andalucía confirma la anulación de la autorización ambiental y de la autorización minera en la mina de Riotinto

Hoy amanecimos con la noticia de la sentencia del Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Andalucía, estimatoria de la demanda de Ecologistas en Acción, que anula la resolución de 2015 por la que la Junta de Andalucía autorizaba el reinicio de los trabajos y del plan de explotación de la mina que Atalaya Mining opera en Riotinto (Huelva). En consecuencia, la multinacional chipriota, que también pretende iniciar la explotación de cobre y plata en los municipios coruñeses de Touro y O Pino, ya no cuenta con autorización ambiental ni con autorización minera para seguir funcionando en Andalucía.

Se trata, sin duda, de un duro varapalo para Atalaya Mining, cuyas acciones en la Bolsa de Londres al cierre de hoy habían descendido un 10% su precio.

Esta noticia coincide con la fugaz y sigilosa visita de la conselleira de Medio Ambiente, Ángeles Vázquez, esta mañana a Touro y O Pino para “mantener una reunión de trabajo con los regidores municipales en la que repasaron los proyectos comprometidos por la Consellería”, como recoge la web de la Xunta, en donde pudimos conocer que uno de esos proyectos es el de canalización del arroyo Portapego a su paso por la capital municipal de Touro, cuyos desbordamientos constantes y contaminación son provocados por las actividades llevadas a cabo en la antigua mina de Touro. La Xunta de Galicia va a invertir el 70%, casi 60.000 € del erario público, en arreglar los daños al medio causados por la empresa privada promotora del proyecto minero de cobre a cielo abierto, mientras que el concello de Touro pagará el 30% restante.

Miembros de la Plataforma Vecinal Mina Touro – O Pino NON, al saber que la conselleira estaba en Touro, aprovecharon la ocasión para intentar hablar con ella, lo que incomodó al alcalde Ignacio Codesido, quien no quiso aclarar los motivos de esta visita oficial. Finalmente, la conselleira escuchó a los vecinos, que le expusieron su preocupación tanto por la situación de la antigua mina como por el nuevo proyecto minero, cuyo expediente está actualmente en la Consellería de Medio Ambiente, a la espera de la emisión de la Declaración de Impacto Ambiental (DIA). Asimismo, le recordaron su ausencia de contestación a las diversas peticiones de reunión enviadas desde octubre de 2017, cuando todavía era conselleira de Medio Rural. En este sentido, Vázquez se comprometió a venir de nuevo a Touro a ver el estado actual de la mina y a reunirse con los vecinos de Arinteiro, los más próximos a la explotación, para conocer de primera mano lo que están viviendo. También aseguró que se preocuparía más por los vertidos y las múltiples denuncias ciudadanas, así como por el funcionamiento de la estación de medición móvil de los olores de la empresa TEN.

En lo que se refiere al estado del arroyo Portapego, el alcalde de Touro volvió a reconocer que desde el cierre de la mina su estado es desastroso pero, aún así, sigue sin querer responsabilizar a la empresa de los daños causados y opta por emplear el dinero de las vecinas y vecinos y no “molestar” a Cobre San Rafael.

Desde la plataforma esperamos que la conselleira cumpla la palabra dada y no se quede simplemente en un mero gesto amable fruto del periodo electoral que actualmente vivimos.

Valla publicitaria en O Pino contra el proyecto minero

El rechazo social a la mina de Touro no cesa y se hace cada vez más visible. Esta semana ha aparecido colocada una gran valla publicitaria en la carretera N-547, a la altura de O Amenal, en O Pino, que reza “NON Á MINA DE TOURO”, en un llamativo color amarillo. Por el momento, nada de sabe de la autoría de la iniciativa pero, sin duda, desde la Plataforma Vecinal Mina Touro – O Pino NON aplaudimos el original gesto.

Galicia’s Regional Environment Minister has promised to meet with citizens opposing copper mining in Touro and O Pino, while Andalucia’s High Court has annulled environmental and mining authorisations at Atalaya Mining’s Rio Tinto Mine, as the company faces multiple set backs.

On Friday 26th of April we woke up in Touro to the news that, following a lawsuit brought by Ecologistas en Accion, the High Court of Andalusia has annulled the Andalucian Government’s 2015 decision to authorise the re-opening and further exploitation of the Rio Tinto mine in Huelva by Cypriot multinational mining company Atalaya Mining.

This means that Atalaya, which also wants to start extraction of copper and silver in the municipalities of Touro and O Pino, Coruña Province, Spain, no longer has the environmental authorisation, nor the mining authorisation, to operate in Andalucia.

It is certainly a serious blow for Atalaya Mining. Following the news, the company’s shares  had tumbled 10% by the time the London Stock Exchange closed for trading on Friday evening.

This news coincides with the fleeting and stealthy visit to Touro and O Pino by the Galician Regional Environment Minister, Angeles Vazquez, “for a working meeting with the Mayors of both councils to revise projects financed by her government department”, according to the Galician Government’s webpage (Xunta de Galicia). Here we can also read that one of those projects is the channelling of the Portapego stream in the municipal capital town of Touro. The constant overflowing of this stream, together with the resulting pollution, is due to the activities carried out in the old Touro Mine.

The Xunta de Galicia, using public funds, is going to pay 70% of the bill, nearly €60.000, to fix the environmental damage caused by the private company that aspires to open the copper and silver open pit mining project. The local council will pay the remaining 30% of the bill.

Knowing that the Regional Minister was in Touro, members of the Neighbourhood Association Mina Touro-O Pino Non tried to find an opportunity to talk to her. The citizens’ presence made the Mayor, Ignacio Codesido, uncomfortable. He did not want to clarify the purpose of the official visit. But, finally, association members were able to speak with the Regional Environment Minister, who listened to their concerns about the situation of the old mine and about the new mining project.

The project file for the new mine is waiting for the Environmental Impact Declaration that will be issued by Ms Vazquez’s Environment Department. Association members  reminded her about her lack of response to several requests for a meeting since October 2017, when she was the Regional Minister for Rural Affairs. Vazquez promised to come back to Touro again to see the present state of the mine and for a meeting with the Neighbourhood Association of Arinteiro, a village closer to the mine, in order to learn what they are going through first hand. She also reassured them that she will pay more attention to the runoffs from the old mine and to the citizens’ multiple complaints; as well as to the operation of the mobile station to measure foul smells in the area that belongs to the company TEN.

Regarding the state of the Portapego stream, the Mayor of Touro again admitted that since the closure of the old mine the stream’s state is appalling, but he does not want to make the company, Cobre San Rafael, responsible for the damage. He prefers to employ public taxes to foot the bill, in order not to “bother” them.

From the Neighbourhood Association’s perspective, we hope that the Minister will keep her promise and that this is not just a kind gesture because we are in the middle of an election period.

Billboard in O Pino against the mining project

The popular rejection to the Touro mine is relentless and it is becoming more visible. A large billboard near N-547 road in Amenal, O Pino, appeared this week with the message “NO TO THE TOURO MINE”, in a striking, bright yellow colour.

So far, nobody knows about the authors of this initiative but, without any doubt,  the Neighbourhood Association Mina Touro-O Pino Non applauds this gesture.

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