Galician MP denounces tailings pond breach

Member of the European Parliament Lídia Senra filed a complaint before the European Commission denouncing the breach of a tailings pond in the Touro municipality, located in the Galicia autonomous community, northwestern Spain.

The tailings pond was part of an old copper/gold mining complex operated by the Mining and Metallurgical Society of Peñarroya and Río Tinto Patiño. According to the MEP, the breach took place on February 15, 2018, and the wastewater ended up in the Brandelos river, located only 100 metres away from the facility.

In the dossier she presented in Brussels, Senra states that the accident is a clear example of continued violations of European normative. In particular, she said, it violated Directive 2006/21 / EC on waste management in extractive industries and Directive 2004/35 / EC on liability and reparation for environmental damages.

The politician argues that the companies responsible for the mining operation, the Xunta de Galicia and the Spanish state government are also ignoring the Water Framework Directive 2000/60 / EC, for not doing anything about the continued contamination caused by the mine to the environment, small tributaries of the Ulla river and the Arousa estuary.

"We are talking about a problem that transcends the site, that goes far beyond Toro and that pollutes everything from the grasslands next to the Toro streams to the shellfish banks,” she said in a media statement, where she also highlighted that after visiting the site she noted that everything below the mine is dead and everything above the mine is clear and alive.

Senra asked the European Commission to take action right away and do whatever it takes to prove whether or not government and mining companies are following the bloc’s regulations. She believes that breaches of environmental laws have been taking place for decades now.

This is not the first time the MEP approaches a European body about this topic. Back in October, Senra informed the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg of the continued dumping of toxic waste that was happening in Touro, while the ancient mine’s facilities were not being monitored by anyone. After showing photos of the state of the rivers in the area, she asked for an independent investigation to be carried out as soon as possible.

To keep the momentum going, on Sunday, the politician will take part in a demonstration organized by civil society against what’s going on at the mining site.