New employment or gold rush in Asturias?

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gold rush

The Spanish Ministry of Industry has granted permission to a Canadian multinational, Western Metallica, to exploit gold, silver, and copper in a region in Asturias.

Western Metallica already operates in Andalucia and Latin America. And now, it will carry out the exploration in the municipality of Allende in the Principality of Asturias. The exploration area encompasses 62 mining grids, amounting to approximately 15.5 square kilometres.

Location and time frame

The exploration will take place in the Antiforme del Narcea region, within the Navia-Alto Sil area. The Canadian company has been given a permit for a period of three years. During the permit application process, various individuals and groups have raised objections. Among the objectors are the Coordinadora Ecologista de Asturias (CEA) and the Asociación Espacio Social Colectivo para la Autogestión, Diversidad y Autonomía Escanda.

Debate over employment and environment

There is some controversy surrounding the project, with voices claiming that more jobs could be created through a circular economy based on recycling. These opponents of the project emphasise the potential negative impacts of mining on the environment and local communities in Asturias. The government and the involved company are expected to address these concerns while highlighting the potential economic benefits of the mining operations.

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‘Gold rush’

In the social context, residents perceive a sort of ‘gold rush’ in Asturias. As stated by the CEA, “The primary objective of establishing a gold mine is solely to enrich the business sector. It lacks any social utility, contrary to the deceptive promotions often associated with such projects. Typically, these promotions misleadingly emphasise the quantity of jobs purportedly generated.” Critics argue that more employment opportunities could arise from rehabilitating the area and adopting a circular economy centred on recycling.

The coming period will be marked by close monitoring of Western Metallica’s activities in Asturias, with particular attention to environmental impacts and compliance with local and national legislation.

Also read: New life for a celestine mine in Granada thanks to interest from China

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