Last update:
2014-05-26

Aznalcollar tailings dam failure, Spain

Description:

El 25 de Abril de 1998 se produce la rotura de la presa de contención de la balsa de decantación de la mina de pirita (FeS2) en Aznalcóllar (Sevilla). Como resultado aparece un importante vertido de agua ácida y de lodos muy tóxicos, conteniendo altas concentraciones de metales pesados, de gravísimas consecuencias para la región.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Aznalcollar tailings dam failure, Spain
Country:Spain
State or province:Andalusia
Location of conflict:Aznalcollar, Sevilla
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Tailings from mines
Establishment of reserves/national parks
Specific commodities:Tailings dam failure
Industrial waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details

En diciembre de 1987, Boliden asumió el control de la compañía española Andaluza de Piritas, S.A. (Apirsa),

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Project area:4600
Level of Investment:130,000,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:1998
Company names or state enterprises:Boliden from Sweden
Relevant government actors:Andalucía regional government, Spanish government, Tribunal Supremo, Consejería de Medio Ambiente
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Confederación ecologista y pacifista de Andalucía, Ecologistas en Acción, WWF, Amigos de la Tierra, Adecuna de Aznalcóllar, SEO/BirdLife
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow)
Other Environmental impactsSe afectó marginalmente el Parque Nacional Doñana (Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la UNESCO), se creó Paisaje Protegido el Corredor Verde del Guadiamar (1998)
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Land dispossession
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Institutional changes
Land demarcation
Court decision (undecided)
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Development of alternatives:Se creó Paisaje Protegido el Corredor Verde del Guadiamar (1998)
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:EJOs warned about the possibility of the spill, but it happened before any political institution took seriously the warnings. Moreover the firm Boliden did not pay for its environmental liabilities. It was the government of Andalusia who had to pay.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

DECRETO 112/2003, de 22 de abril, por el que se declara Paisaje Protegido el Corredor Verde del Guadiamar
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References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

CSIC, 2008, Guadiamar, ciencia, técnica y restauración. El accidente minero diez años después
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Boccio Serrano, Maravillas, El accidente de Aznalcollar desde la óptica del derecho ambiental comunitario, Universidad de Sevilla
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

ABC, 2014, La mina de Aznalcóllar cumple 16 años de polémicas desde la catástrofe del vertido
[click to view]

Universidad de Zaragoza, Accidente de Aznalcóllar
[click to view]

Europa Press, 2014, La Junta 'veta' a Boliden en el concurso para explotar la mina de Aznalcóllar
[click to view]

La Razón, 2011, Boliden se libra de pagar por el desastre de Aznalcóllar
[click to view]

El País, 2014, Gobierno y Junta cierran esta semana la solución legal para reabrir Aznalcóllar
[click to view]

El País, 2014, La reapertura de la mina marca el 16 aniversario del accidente de Aznalcóllar
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Joan Martinez Alier and Talia Waldron
Last update26/05/2014
Comments
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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