Corcoesto: Chronology of an Environmental Victory

9 July 2013

Press release from the Spanish Council of Economy and Industry

According to the press release from its PR office (PDF ), today the Chancellorship of Economy and Industry has just held a meeting with representatives of the Corcoesto mining company. During it, the enterprise was informed that the administration does not authorize the mining project because it does not fulfil the technical and economical maximum feasibility guarantees. The company also was communicated that, after the analysis carried out by its technicians, the Council considers that the project does not meet the technical and economical requirements. Therefore, the company must provide the guarantees needed to insure the project’s feasibility and solvency.

More specifically, the Chancellorship of Economy and Industry required the company to certify a 25% minimum solvency of its own capital to be invested in the project. Furthermore, they asked the company to firmly engage to pay the rest of the funding, as well as to provide documentation certifying its technical capacity to perform the project. If the environmental, technical, and economical requirements are not properly met, the project would be definitely rejected, and its procedure would not continue.

SGHN valuation

According to yesterday’s press release, the Chancellorship of Economy and Industry “does not authorize the mining project” of Corcoesto because “it does not meet the technical and economical requirements to insure the feasibility and the solvency of the project”. It first seems that the Council just refers to funding and technical mining problems, but reading more carefully the piece of news, it states that “if the environmental, technical, and economical requirements are not correctly fulfilled, the project would be definitely rejected and its procedure would not continue”.

Then, it must be understood that this decision of the Galician regional authorities is a step back from standing the mining project. This right decision seems to be due, in great part, to the huge citizen pressure against this mine, harmful for the ecosystem and human health. The project triggered the biggest citizen movement in Galicia due to environmental reasons since the Prestige oil slick: it resulted in more than 233,000 signatures against polluting megamining in Galicia, more than 32,000 signatures to stop Barclays Bank and Credit Suisse from funding the Corcoesto mining operation, and one huge demonstration with a single motto: “Galicia is not a mine. Stand up for soil, stand up for life”.

We knew the Corcoesto project was harmful to humans and for the protection of the ecosystem. Now, Galician authorities implicitly recognize it between the lines and also insure that the project is poor according to technical, economical, and financial criteria. Then, what are they waiting for to cancel its positive Declaration of Environmental Impact and to totally dismiss the project?

15 October 2013

New standstill of Corcoesto’s mining operation by Galician authorities: definitely?

According to this morning’s press release, Galician regional authorities have paralysed the Corcoesto mining operation because of financial and technical insolvency (newspapers El PaísEl Correo GallegoFaro de VigoLa Voz de Galicia). This decision is another step back from standing the mining project. While waiting to know the official resolution by the authorities, the information filtered by the press suggests that it would be a paralysation with more consequences than that of those experimented by the project on the 10 July, even if it is not definitive, as it is subject to appeal. Again, it is due to the “lack of financial and technical solvency of the project”.

Probably they will never expressly recognise it, but this right decision also has to do with the huge citizen pressure against this mine, harmful for the ecosystem and people’s health. It triggered the biggest citizen mobilisation due to environmental reasons in Galicia since the Prestige oil slick, and it has already collected more than 241,000 signatures against harmful megamining.

Health, ecological, economical, and technical criteria indicate that the Corcoesto project is harmful. What are Galician regional authorities waiting for to cancel its positive Declaration of Environmental Impact and to totally dismiss the project?

14 March 2014

Edgewater-Mineira de Corcoesto’s application definitely rejected!!!

SGHN has just received word that three days ago, acting on behalf of the Councillor of Economy and Industry, the General Director of Energy and Mines issued a resolution definitely rejecting the open-pit gold mining project of Corcoesto, on 11 March 2014. Here ends, at least for the time being, a project which according to all the health, ecological, economical, and technical criteria affected the Councils of Cabana de Bergantiños, Coristanco, and Ponteceso.

As SGHN already stated on 15 October 2013, probably they will never expressly recognise it, but this right decision also has to do with the huge citizen pressure against this mine, harmful for the ecosystem and people’s health. It triggered the biggest citizen mobilisation due to environmental reasons in Galicia since the Prestige oil slick, and it has already collected more than 244,000 signatures against harmful megamining.

Without any doubt, the huge success of achieving the rejection of the Corcoesto mining project when it even had a positive Declaration of Environmental Impact is the result of an enormous collective effort. SGHN feels specially satisfied and proud of having worked closely with all the citizens and associations that also believed that the project was definitely prejudicial, which now is recognised by Galician authorities.

5 October 2014

The Edgewater mining project has no more rights in Corcoesto!!!

Question no. 39357 posed by the Parliamentary group of the left party Alternativa Galega de Esquerda concerned the “information of the Council of Economy and industry about the eventual administrative process from the rejection of the Corcoesto mining project authorization” [Galician authorities official gazette (BOPG) no. 380, 26 November 2014]. To answer it, the aforementioned Council has just stated that, once the legal procedures are completed and the allegations against the company are submitted, “on the 7 August 2015, is declared the expiration of the concessions for the mining projects ‘Emilita’ no. 1221, ‘Ciudad de Landro’ no. 1454, and ‘Ciudad de Masma’ no. 1455, of Corcoesto’s Mining Complex SLU ownership” (PDF)

A happy ending, at least for the moment, to a long and intense fight of Galician neighbourhood movements and environmental defence.

Text translated by María Estévez Rodríguez (student of the Degree of Translation and Interpretation of the University of Vigo)

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