Residents from a small Spanish town have found the myth of El Dorado too close for comfort and are fighting plans to excavate an old Roman gold mine in the area. They claim that, although the gold could be worth up to £365 million, the disruption caused by excavations would destroy the environment and ruin tourism.
Rio Narcea Gold Mines Ltd, a Toronto based mining company, has found that Tapia de Casariego is literally sitting on a gold mine. The gold lies in the bedrock of two lagoons located just outside the town and remained when the Romans left the Asturias province 2,000 years ago.
A ‘no gold’ petition has been signed by many of the towns 4,500 inhabitants, most of whom are fishermen, cattle farmers and hoteliers. They are fearful that the huge crater and pile of rubble produced by excavations will be “a brutal and irreversible aggression against the environment, marine life, the landscape and the archaeological heritage”. The jobs and infrastructure created by the mining would be no compensation for the environmental impact, they say.
Their views have the support of the provincial government and Gervasio Acevedo, the Mayor of Tapia de Casariego, who has insisted that the gold remains in the ground. “We will put all our efforts towards preventing the mine project from being carried out,” he said.
The town claims it has no need to dig up its heritage to become rich. According to Mr Acevedo, the town could become just as wealthy from the proceeds of the area’s burgeoning tourism.
... I suspect we'll be hearing more about this.