Activists say the mining is already devastating the unique landscape. Photo: Almudena Serpis
Spanish mountains under threat from open cast coal mining
26th October, 2011
Almudena Serpis reports on the activists taking action against the expansion of coal mining in the beautiful and ecologically important Lacaiana valley
The 15M movement, born in Madrid after a major demonstration against Spain’s economic crisis earlier this year, moved away from the city and set up a camp to oppose the destructive practices generated by open pit coal mining as part of its 'Take the mountain!' initiative. The Ecologist visited their protest camp to witness an increasingly bitter conflict.
A few meters away from the camp the police welcomed the activists, shotguns in hand, searched they're belongings, and asked for identification. They followed the same intimidating procedure for the hundreds of people that poured in from all corners of Spain to try and stop the devastation of the beautiful Laciana valley in the Spanish north-eastern province of Leon. Home to endangered species such as the brown bear, by coal open cast mining.
If you walk a few hours north of the camp, the majestic mountain scenery changes radically into a moon-like setting. 'It’s like the Kingdom of Mordor in the movie Lord of The Rings,' some locals have commented. In this case, the one to rule them all is the coal bigwig Victorino Alonso (or Father Don Vito, as he has been named by campers). He is owner of the two main Spanish mining businesses, CMC and...
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