Quarries and Land Overexploitation in the Baix Camp region, Catalonia, Spain


The Baix Camp (Tarragona) has one of the highest concentration of quarries in Catalonia. In municipalities like Riudecols, currently we find that approximately 3.5% of the area of the municipality is occupied by quarries and planned permit extensions being processed means this will soon reach 11% of the municipality.

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Basic Data
NameQuarries and Land Overexploitation in the Baix Camp region, Catalonia, Spain
SiteBaix Camp region
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Building materials extraction (quarries, sand, gravel)
Specific CommoditiesCement
Sand, gravel
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThere are about 230 hectares of quarries
Project Area (in hectares)237
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Company Names or State EnterprisesLa Ponderosa (LEMAR) from Spain
LEMAR from Spain
Relevant government actorsMunicipalities (L' Argentera, Riudecols, Botarell, Duesaigües, Vilanova dEscornalbou, etc.), Government of Catalonia, Catalan Environmental Agency, Catalan Government, Regional Government.
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGEPEC (Grup dEstudi i Protecció dels Ecosistemes del Camp - Group for Study and Protection of Land Ecosystems http://gepec.cat/), Defenterra (Associació per la Defensa i Millora del Territori i Patrimoni de LArgentera - Association for the Protection and Improvement Planning and Heritage of Argentera http://defenterra.galeon.com), Alveolus (Defensa i millora del territori i patrimoni de lAlbiol - Defense and improvement of land and assets of Albiol http://www.bonretorn.cat/), Delterpa (Associació per la Defensa del Territori i Patrimoni de Riudecols - Association for Environmental Defense and Heritage of Riudecols)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Social movements
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Desertification/Drought, Fires
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseEnvironmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Institutional changes
New legislation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Under expansion
Development of AlternativesConservation of the region, change of economic priorities, respect for public opinion and promotion of environmental tourism.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Some quarries are operational, and new operations are in the planning stages, conducting environmental impact assessments and legal studies.

The environmental conflict is therefore still active.
Sources and Materials

Public campaign to stop Argenteras quarry: çada-per-una-extractiva-des-del-castell-d-escornalbou
[click to view]

GEPEC news about Argenteras quarry:
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorJoan Pons Solé
Last update03/05/2014