Potasas del Llobregat in Catalonia, Spain


Description

This is a conflict on water salinization in the Llobregat River. The potash mine is about 70 kms to the north of the city of Barcelona by the Llobregat and Cardener Rivers. This is one of the biggest potash mines in the world.

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Basic Data
NamePotasas del Llobregat in Catalonia, Spain
CountrySpain
ProvinceCatalonia
SiteSúria y Sallent/Balsareny
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Water access rights and entitlements
Tailings from mines
Specific CommoditiesWater
Potash
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsIberpotash (of the ICL group) is planning to invest 600 million euros in the Salt Mountain for turning it into a commercial resource. The Catalan government supports this plan. Environmentalists are sceptical. The Supreme Court of Catalonia took away the environmental license from Iberpotash in 2013 but the Catalan government has appealed against this decision. In 2014, the might be a prosecution of some directors of Iberpotash for environmental crime.
Project Area (in hectares)500
Level of Investment (in USD)600,000,000
Type of PopulationUrban
Start Date1929
Company Names or State EnterprisesIberpotash from Israel
Relevant government actorsCatalan Goverment, Catalan Water Agency, Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Catalunya, Dpto. Medio Ambiente
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersMontSalat, AAVV La Rampinya, Ecologistes en Acció, Martorell Viu, Prou Sal a Sallent, Xarxa per una Nova Cultura de l’Aigua, Aigua és Vida, L'Alzina
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Mine tailing spills
Potential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Waste overflow
OtherSalinization of water courses
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood
Potential: Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
OtherBad quality of water for domestic use and for irrigation because of salinization of rivers
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (undecided)
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The Salt Mountain (mine tailings from potash exploitation) keeps growing, and salinization of rivers downstream continues. Environmental liabilities fall on the public sector and taxpayers. There might be a prosecution for environmental crimes (2014).
Sources and Materials
Legislations

La Directiva Marco del Agua (directiva de la Unión Europea), en cuanto al Llobregat i al agua salinizada, no se cumple. Alegaciones presentadas y respuestas
[click to view]

Mayo 2013, el abogado de Sallent Sebastià Estradé ha denunciado ante instancias de la UE al Estado español por incumplimiento

ambiental basándose en el estudio hecho por el despacho de Ramon Folch (ERF). En el Estado español y según la ley de minas, la no restauración de la zona afectada por acumulación de runas salinas producidas por la empresa Iberpotash y la falta de fianza por el coste estimado de restauración que incumplen desde el año 1982 la legislación estatal (RD 2994/1982) y el más reciente decreto 975/2009, de 12 de Junio, sobre gestión de residuos de las industrias extractivas y de protección y rehabilitzación del espacio afectado por las actividades mineras

References

M. Rovira, 2008, La Cuenca Salina del Bages y la Calidad del Agua del Río Llobregat, UPC
[click to view]

Plataforma cívica MontSalat
[click to view]

F. Ribera, H. Dorca, P. Martínez, J. Piña, N. Otero, J. Palau, A. Soler, 2009, Estudio hidrogeológico de la cuenca potásica catalana en el entorno de Sallent y la antigua Mina Enrique. Provincia de Barcelona (España), Boletín Geológico y Minero
[click to view]

Ecologistes en Acció, Grup de Defensa del Ter, Martorell

Viu, Salvem el Gaià, Prou Sal, Xarxa per una Nova Cultura de l’Aigua y Aigua es Vida, 2013, Informe, Los conflictos hídricos más importantes

de las Cuencas Internas de Catalunya

ICHN, Cronología de la afectación ambiental de la minería de sal y potasa en el Bages
[click to view]

Santiago Gorostiza, Jordi Honey-Rosés i Roger Lloret, Rius de Sal. Una visió històrica de la salinització dels rius Llobregat i Cardener durant el segle XX.
[click to view]

Links

Article in newspaper La Vanguardia, 2012, La extracción de potasa cumple un siglo en España
[click to view]

Press report, Minas de Súria – Minas de Sal y Potasa Iberpotash
[click to view]

La Vanguardia, 2013, Roger Lloret, 74 años "Sigo vigilando el agua del Llobregat"
[click to view]

La Vanguardia, 2013, El vertedero de residuos salinos de Sallent es ilegal
[click to view]

Iberpotash
[click to view]

La Información, 2014, Iberpotash aumenta un 30% la venta de sal de deshielo y exporta el 80%
[click to view]

La Vanguardia, 2013, El escritor de Sallent es el referente de la campaña cívica para prevenir los daños de la minería del Bages. Sebastià Estradé, 90 años: "Ahora pido justicia ambiental"
[click to view]

Imputados tres cargos de Territorio por prevaricación en Iberpotash
[click to view]

Imputen dos alts directius d'Iberpotash i tres de la Generalitat per un presumpte delicte ambiental
[click to view]

Other Documents

Iberpotash a Sallent matge d'arxiu de la muntanya de runam salí de l'empresa minera Iberpotash a Sallent, al Bages Foto: ACN.

http://www.elpuntavui.cat/noticia/article/2-societat/5-societat/863464-imputen-dos-alts-directius-diberpotash-i-tres-de-la-generalitat-per-un-presumpte-delicte-ambiental.html
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorJoan Martinez Alier y Talia Waldron
Last update04/06/2015
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