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Mining the Camino Frances, Anyone?


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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#3
Huge protests in SDC last weekend.
 

LGLG

Member
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Camino Angel
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP - Finisterre (2005) ; LePuy - Muxia (2007) ; Porto - SC. (2009) planning Lourdes- SC (2018)
#4
Didn't fully understand the Spanish article, but my first thought was: isn't it a world heritage route and protected by UNESCO? And what protection would that provide?

https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/669

Protection and management requirements


Pursuant to the First Additional Provision of the Spanish Historical Heritage Act, Law 16/1985 of 25 June 1985, the Camino de Santiago was registered in the category of Historical Complex as a Property of Cultural Interest (Bien de Interés Cultural), the highest level of cultural heritage protection in Spain. In exercise of their competences, the Autonomous Communities through which the routes pass have each defined the protection of this serial property in their respective territories. The routes are Crown property, and the built components are under a mixture of private, institutional, and public sector ownership, as are the buffer zones. The serial property is managed by the Jacobean Council (Consejo Jacobeo), which was created for the purpose of collaborating on programmes and actions to protect and conserve it; to further its promotion and cultural dissemination; to conserve and restore its historical-artistic heritage; to regulate and promote tourism; and to assist pilgrims.

Notwithstanding these arrangements, systematic actions will be needed to address the potential threats posed by industrial and urban growth and development, new transportation infrastructure such as motorways and railways, pressure from increased tourism and the number of pilgrims, and rural depopulation. Enforcement of regulatory measures and legislation will be crucial, as well as the development of environmental and heritage impact studies for new construction. In addition, urban development schemes of the municipalities along the routes will need to ensure protection of the attributes that sustain the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.
 
Camino(s) past & future
'
#5
Didn't fully understand the Spanish article, but my first thought was: isn't it a world heritage route and protected by UNESCO? And what protection would that provide?
Sadly, the Unesco can't protect World Heritage sites. All they can do is withdraw the World Heritage title from a site if it no longer fulfils the conditions for awarding the Unesco label.

It seems to me that the main concerns about the planned re-opening of this open air copper mine are the impact on the environment and quality of air/soil/water/life in general, not primarily the impact on peregrinos on the Camino Frances. Do I understand this correctly? See for example La reapertura de una mina de cobre pone en pie de guerra a agricultores y mariscadores gallegos in El Pais of 28 May 2018.
 

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MinaKamina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
#6
Copper goes into mobile phones, no wonder the demand is high. Copper does not grow on trees, as the company says and it has to come from somewhere. Here's hoping you are not reading this on your phone.

Sadly, the Unesco can't protect World Heritage sites. All they can do is withdraw the World Heritage title from a site if it no longer fulfils the conditions for awarding the Unesco label.

It seems to me that the main concerns about the planned re-opening of this open air copper mine are the impact on the environment and quality of air/soil/water/life in general, not primarily the impact on peregrinos on the Camino Frances. Do I understand this correctly? See for example La reapertura de una mina de cobre pone en pie de guerra a agricultores y mariscadores gallegos in El Pais of 28 May 2018.
No, this isn't about pilgrims. The concerns in the region are about thier own quality of life, now and in the future. Reviving the land once the mining operation has ended, is very difficult. (Everybody now loves Las Médulas, in Ponferrada, an open air gold-mining site from the Romans, but that was 2000 years ago and they did not use chemicals or explosives.)

Reading the article, I would be surprised if the mining company would be allowed to contaminate the river and the region to such a degree. But things have been known to happen. Given the size of the exploitation, I'm on the side of those who don't want to see that happen ever.

Another effect of the mining activities will be the noise:

The environmental group also points out that, even though at less than one kilometre from the contour of the site there are "20 villages, a nursery, a retirement home, a municipal swimming pool, a recreational area, the Ulla River Interpretation Centre and the Civil Protection facilities", "six blasting operations will take place every day". Annually, according to the project, the company plans to carry out 694 type A blasts (with 9,255 kilos of explosive to remove 25,000 cubic metres of rock each) and 1,380 type B blasts (with 16,322 kilos of explosive to remove 50,000 cubic metres each). "The SGHN document also states that "40% of the explosive's energy is spent on the generation of seismic movements in the area.

https://elpais.com/ccaa/2017/11/06/galicia/1509999013_284283.html
 
Last edited:

VNwalking

Veteran Member
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Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
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Ingles ('18)
#7
I would be surprised if the mining company would be allowed to contaminate the river and the region to such a degree.
But of course they can. I am not being cynical, just realistic - IME, there is no end of environmental damage companies with connecitons can get away with. It can take a big effort to stop something like this.
Is anyone thinking of THAT?
Of course not. Again, I'm not being cynical, just understanding the way most of the world works. And what matters is money and profit. Local people and the environment? Pfffft.
Pragmatically, there needs to be a lot of 'push-back,' which is why it's really good FICS chimed in - another voice saying "NO."
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#8
We had some off-line discussion and concerns expressed about some of the technical posts in this thread about blasting, seismic activity, and the fate of Santiago. Since none of us mods is able to evaluate the accuracy of the claims about the impact of mining on the area, we have deleted those posts. The thread will remain open for news about the protests and FICS’ activities.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
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#9
I was incorrect in my technical assessment, my bad. The moderator deleted my erroneous post. I had the right idea, but the numbers were wrong. No problem...
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino Angel
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#11
Not sure what the alternative or solution is, or if there even is one in today's electronic technology driven world.
All of us on this forum while reading it or writing it are having direct contact with the technology copper brings us through electronic devices. You have to have it for the devices to work and it comes from within the earth. Someone, somewhere will be affected by its mining.
No escaping it...
 

VNwalking

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
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#12
Not sure what the alternative or solution is
Keeping Quiet
by Pablo Neruda
Now we will count to twelve​
and we will all keep still.​
For once on the face of the earth,​
let’s not speak in any language;​
let’s stop for one second,​
and not move our arms so much.​
It would be an exotic moment​
without rush, without engines;​
we would all be together​
in a sudden strangeness.​
Fisherman in the cold sea​
would not harm whales​
and the man gathering salt​
would not look at his hurt hands.​
Those who prepare green wars,​
wars with gas, wars with fire,​
victories with no survivors,​
would put on clean clothes​
and walk about with their brothers​
in the shade, doing nothing.​
What I want should not be confused​
with total inactivity.​
Life is what it is about;​
I want no truck with death.​
If we were not so single-minded​
about keeping our lives moving,​
and for once could do nothing,​
perhaps a huge silence​
might interrupt this sadness​
of never understanding ourselves​
and of threatening ourselves with death.​
Perhaps the earth can teach us​
as when everything seems dead​
and later proves to be alive.​
Now I’ll count up to twelve​
and you keep quiet and I will go.​
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino Angel
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#13
Keeping Quiet
by Pablo Neruda
Now we will count to twelve​
and we will all keep still.​
For once on the face of the earth,​
let’s not speak in any language;​
let’s stop for one second,​
and not move our arms so much.​
It would be an exotic moment​
without rush, without engines;​
we would all be together​
in a sudden strangeness.​
Fisherman in the cold sea​
would not harm whales​
and the man gathering salt​
would not look at his hurt hands.​
Those who prepare green wars,​
wars with gas, wars with fire,​
victories with no survivors,​
would put on clean clothes​
and walk about with their brothers​
in the shade, doing nothing.​
What I want should not be confused​
with total inactivity.​
Life is what it is about;​
I want no truck with death.​
If we were not so single-minded​
about keeping our lives moving,​
and for once could do nothing,​
perhaps a huge silence​
might interrupt this sadness​
of never understanding ourselves​
and of threatening ourselves with death.​
Perhaps the earth can teach us​
as when everything seems dead​
and later proves to be alive.​
Now I’ll count up to twelve​
and you keep quiet and I will go.​
Nice poem, but I read it on my Lenovo laptop, which operates on copper conductors. It's circuit boards have to have copper in them. So does just about all the avionics and electronics in the airliner I will fly to Madrid to walk the Camino again.
If they do not mine in Galicia they mine somewhere else. Someone and somewhere else pays the price. It is not going away. The hunger for technology is too strong. A juggernaut that cannot be slowed down. The poison apple. Pandora's box. The ring in the Hobbit. The toothpaste cannot go back in the tube.
Hold on, my iPhone is ringing. Gotta go. That damn iPhone with all its tiny circuit boards with copper in them....
 

VNwalking

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#14
@RJM, very true, sadly. And your humor is good too.
And...if there were no more copper on the planet, we would have to make do.
So why not act as if that were the case, and find a way to move ahead with technology without the new (or re-opened) mines?
Or [horrors! :eek:] accept limits.;)
 

davebugg

DustOff: "When I have your wounded."
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#15
@RJM, very true, sadly. And your humor is good too.
And...if there were no more copper on the planet, we would have to make do.
So why not act as if that were the case, and find a way to move ahead with technology without the new (or re-opened) mines?
Or [horrors! :eek:] accept limits.;)
:) I'm thinking of the overall history of better technology replacing the old, and the usual way it works is for the superior technology to be mature enough and affordable and available enough before the older technology fades away. Sort of a transitioning. I don't think that an existing and useful or needed technology or material was ever done away with while the world waited for a better replacement.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Which are always in danger of becoming outdated and replaced by someone's superior thoughts on the forum :)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#16
I can’t add anything to the copper discussion, but I think that whether or not it should be used is a different question than whether THIS source of copper has to be mined. I agree it’s a complicated balance between jobs, the environment and public health in all cases, but in this case the added layer of Camino /UNESCO may affect the government’s and the populace’s assessment of it.

P.s. MinaKamina’s post reminded me — Don’t miss As Médulas if you walk the Invierno. I think it is too bad that a lot of forum members found they were too tired to do much of anything after arriving from Ponferrada, so maybe the typical first day should be shorter. It is an absolutely fascinating place, where the Romans essentially blew out the mountains’ innards (and their gold) by forcing water through progressively narrower channels. You can even walk through one of those channels, and the views are unique, you will never see anything else like it.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino Angel
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#17
@RJM, very true, sadly. And your humor is good too.
And...if there were no more copper on the planet, we would have to make do.
So why not act as if that were the case, and find a way to move ahead with technology without the new (or re-opened) mines?
Or [horrors! :eek:] accept limits.;)
I agree and hope for technology one day less invasive and damaging to our environment. More recycling, and copper (like aluminium) is one of those metals that is semi-valuable and recycled a great deal. You make it valuable and it never hits a landfill or is left on the ground.
My greatest fear is the plastic waste. That shit is just everywhere. Recently they observed via a submersible a plastic shoppe type bag at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, the deepest recorded area of the world's oceans. Oh the horror. The horror.
 


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