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Gold mining in Corcoesto, Galicia, Spain


In 2011, the Canadian company Edgewater asked for permission to develop a 700 ha gold mine in Galicia. This open-pit project was to operate over 13 years (including 3 years for infrastructure construction and 2 years for restoration activities), with plans to extract a total amount of 1,095,000 ounces of gold. Total investment would have been 651,824,167 € and of the project would have created 271 direct jobs during the 8 years of non-stop extractive operations.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Gold mining in Corcoesto, Galicia, Spain
State or province:Galicia
Location of conflict:Cabana, Coristanco y Ponteceso (Bergantiños County)
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Mineral ore exploration
Specific commodities:Gold
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

The project foresees an extraction of 2,100,000 t of mineral rock per year and an average of 9,000,000 m3 of waste per year.

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Project area:773.6
Level of Investment:149,822,239
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:20000
Start of the conflict:2011
Company names or state enterprises:Mineira de Corcoesto S.L from Spain - which is subsidiary of Edgerwater Corporation Ldt., Canada
Edgerwater Corporation Ldt. from Canada
Relevant government actors:Xunta de Galicia , Mayor of Cabana de Bergantiños
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Verdegaia, Plataforma pola defensa de Corcoesto e Bergantiños, Asociación ecoloxista ADEGA, Plataforma Cidadá Salvemos Cabana, Sociedade Galega de Historia Natural, Contramínate, Greenpeace, Amigos de la Tierra
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
art-protest: they published a poetry book, street art competition, theatre and they organised a music festival
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, 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
Other Environmental impactsCyanide
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Application of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project cancelled
The project has been stopped by the regional government.
Development of alternatives:There is no clear proposal, as the platform is formed by different groups. Some of them are proposing to do more sustainable activities, including traditional ones such as organic small-scale farming and cattle farming, small scale rural tourism, small scale fisheries, etc.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The conflict started recently (end of 2011) and the opposition stopped the project in October 2013. The EJO groups were successfully spreading the word throughout the country with protests. The increase of the social pressure to protest against the mine has run parallel to the decrease of stockmarket shares for the mining company. The EIA assessment was approved and there only the decision of the regional government was missing for the project to start. However, on the 15th October 2013, the project was cancelled by the regional government. The company has announced that it will amend the project and resubmit it.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Ley de Minas 22/1973. BOE 176, de 24 de julio de 1973, páginas 15056 a 15071:
[click to view]

European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 on a general ban on the use of cyanide mining technologies in the European Union: TA P7-TA-2010-0145 0 DOC XML V0//EN
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Mining project:
[click to view]

Corcoesto mining EIA:
[click to view]

Verdegaia presentation:
[click to view]

SGHN presentation:
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Red contra la Minaría Destrutiva en Galicia:
[click to view]

Plataforma ciudadana salvemos cabana:
[click to view]

Plataforma pola defensa de Corcoesto e Bergantiños:
[click to view]

[click to view]

Newspress article: La Xunta defiende el proyecto minero de Corcoesto a pesar de la oposición de movimientos y partidos. Diagonal:
[click to view]

Leer más: El PSdeG se opone a la mina de Corcoesto con informes sobre su demoledor efecto en la salud y el medioambiente:
[click to view]

Newspress article. EL Pais. La multinacional de la mina de oro de Corcoesto se desploma en Bolsa:
[click to view]

newspaper article: La Xunta tumba Corcoesto por insolvencia financiera y técnica:
[click to view]

Newspress article. Europapress. El PSdeG se opone a la mina de Corcoesto con informes sobre su demoledor efecto en la salud y el medioambiente

EJOLT blog entry. Water is worth more than gold: Environmental Justice victory over the Corcoesto gold mining project (Spain):
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Corcoesto documentary teaser:
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Amaranta Herrero
Last update19/05/2014
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