Europe and Central Asia
13 May 2014

Reopening the Aznalcóllar mines: unaffordable risk and potential ecological disaster

By Communications

SEO/BirdLife (BirdLife in Spain) is working hard to make sure that the Aznalcóllar mines, closed since a holding dam burst in 1998, remain closed. Steps are being taken by the Regional Government in Seville to re-open them; these new developments could endanger the conservation actions that have been undertaken by the Spanish region of Andalucía and the Ministry of Environment to create the Green Corridor of Guadiamar in Doñana National Park.

Doñana National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site , is one of the most important and valuable wetlands in Europe. Home to unique ecological diversity, with landscapes created by mobile sand dunes, marshlands, Mediterranean pine forests and beaches open to the Atlantic, it is particularly renowned for its spectacular concentrations of migratory waterbirds.  Annually, over 300 different species, including rare and threatened ones, are observable in the Park.

The Park, and the wildlife that depends on it, are already threatened by the exploitation of numerous operating mines in the region. Highly water-consuming, this activity drives rapid impoverishment of water quality, affecting not only the Doñana Park’s ecosystems but also the local communities surrounding it. Reopening Aznalcóllar mines would increase the environmental pressure and further degrade water resources in the region.

SEO/BirdLife believes that development and spatial planning should be based upon sustainable use of resources. In this context, the promotion of Sustainable Development Plans for the municipalities of Doñana directly contradicts the re-opening of mines in their watersheds.

For more information, please contact Carmen Fernández, Press Officer at SEO/BirdLife.

Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.