Gold mining in Corcoesto, Galicia, Spain


In 2011, the Canadian company Edgewater asked for permission to develop a 700 ha gold mine in Galicia. This open-pit project was to operate over 13 years (including 3 years for infrastructure construction and 2 years for restoration activities), with plans to extract a total amount of 1,095,000 ounces of gold. Total investment would have been 651,824,167 € and of the project would have created 271 direct jobs during the 8 years of non-stop extractive operations.

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Basic Data
NameGold mining in Corcoesto, Galicia, Spain
SiteCabana, Coristanco y Ponteceso (Bergantiños County)
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Specific CommoditiesGold
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe project foresees an extraction of 2,100,000 t of mineral rock per year and an average of 9,000,000 m3 of waste per year.

They estimate annual production of 102,000 ounces of gold.

The mining speed will be around 5,753 t of mineral/day and 64,024 t of waste/day, considering 365 working days.

,409 m of wells will be drilled each year.

t of total waste are forseen for the whole process.

It might imply the consumption of 1400000000 L of water per year.

It will employ directly 217 people.

It is thought to be active for at least 13 years.
Project Area (in hectares)773.6
Level of Investment (in USD)149,822,239
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population20000
Start Date2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesMineira de Corcoesto S.L from Spain - which is subsidiary of Edgerwater Corporation Ldt., Canada
Edgerwater Corporation Ldt. from Canada
Relevant government actorsXunta de Galicia , Mayor of Cabana de Bergantiños
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersVerdegaia, Plataforma pola defensa de Corcoesto e Bergantiños, Asociación ecoloxista ADEGA, Plataforma Cidadá Salvemos Cabana, Sociedade Galega de Historia Natural, Contramínate, Greenpeace, Amigos de la Tierra
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of MobilizationArtistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
art-protest: they published a poetry book, street art competition, theatre and they organised a music festival
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseApplication of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project cancelled
The project has been stopped by the regional government.
Development of AlternativesThere is no clear proposal, as the platform is formed by different groups. Some of them are proposing to do more sustainable activities, including traditional ones such as organic small-scale farming and cattle farming, small scale rural tourism, small scale fisheries, etc.
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.The conflict started recently (end of 2011) and the opposition stopped the project in October 2013. The EJO groups were successfully spreading the word throughout the country with protests. The increase of the social pressure to protest against the mine has run parallel to the decrease of stockmarket shares for the mining company. The EIA assessment was approved and there only the decision of the regional government was missing for the project to start. However, on the 15th October 2013, the project was cancelled by the regional government. The company has announced that it will amend the project and resubmit it.
Sources and Materials

Ley de Minas 22/1973. BOE 176, de 24 de julio de 1973, páginas 15056 a 15071:
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European Parliament resolution of 5 May 2010 on a general ban on the use of cyanide mining technologies in the European Union: TA P7-TA-2010-0145 0 DOC XML V0//EN
[click to view]


Mining project:
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Corcoesto mining EIA:
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Verdegaia presentation:
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SGHN presentation:
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Red contra la Minaría Destrutiva en Galicia:
[click to view]

Plataforma ciudadana salvemos cabana:
[click to view]

Plataforma pola defensa de Corcoesto e Bergantiños:
[click to view]

[click to view]

Newspress article: La Xunta defiende el proyecto minero de Corcoesto a pesar de la oposición de movimientos y partidos. Diagonal:
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Leer más: El PSdeG se opone a la mina de Corcoesto con informes sobre su demoledor efecto en la salud y el medioambiente:
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Newspress article. EL Pais. La multinacional de la mina de oro de Corcoesto se desploma en Bolsa:
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newspaper article: La Xunta tumba Corcoesto por insolvencia financiera y técnica:
[click to view]

Newspress article. Europapress. El PSdeG se opone a la mina de Corcoesto con informes sobre su demoledor efecto en la salud y el medioambiente

EJOLT blog entry. Water is worth more than gold: Environmental Justice victory over the Corcoesto gold mining project (Spain):
[click to view]

Media Links

Corcoesto documentary teaser:
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorAmaranta Herrero
Last update19/05/2014