There is a detailed proposal with Ruesga Town Hall to start a "marble" (actually decorative limestone) quarry at the lower end of the Cubija valley, destroying part of slopes and cliffs close to Cueva Coberruyo.
The company, Exploración y Proyectos Mineros S.L., has already applied for the licence to start working. It would appear that as long as all legal requirements have been met, the "Jupiter Project" can start with the mayor of Ruesga's signature. At an impromptu meeting between Pete, Juan and Lupe (village councillor) and the mayor of Ruesga this morning (27/4/09) various maps and photos (the ones listed below) were handed over and the mayor agreed to ask for an environmental impact study to be carried out through the Cantabrian government departments of Cultura and Environment. This study would fully address the issues of, for example, cave damage, archaeology, bat populations, visual impact, etc, etc. Acanto, an association of cultural groups, is also likely to be involved, as is ARCA, the main ecologist group in Cantabria. Lupe will be gathering signatures to assess the strength of village opposition. The land apparently belongs to Matienzo village so village opinion and opposition should be channelled through Fredo, the chair of the village council.
There already appears to be some errors in the proposal. A number of grid references given as the boundaries of the works are wrong. The proposal also states that the quarry cannot be seen from the main road at Cruz Usano. (Not being visible is apparently a prerequisite for permission). However, Penny and I walked the proposed quarry boundary this afternoon. For a considerable section of the upper boundary not only was the road at Cruz Usano clearly visible but also the farm at the bottom of the road next to the Matienzo road sign. The road bends below Alisas were also clearly visible. Photographs taken 28/4/09 from the bend below Alisas clearly show 3/4 of the quarry (item 10 below).
A request, signed by Pete and Juan, was taken to the Environment department on 30th April asking for an environmental impact study (item 11 below) and a list of the caves which could be damaged or destroyed is shown as item 12.
A template denuncia (in a Word document) is also available (item 13). The header can be filled in as appropriate (passport number instead of DNI for people who are not in the Spanish system). The denunciation can be posted to the Consejero de Medio Ambiente (Secretary for the Environment):
Excmo. Sr. D. Francisco Luis Martin Gallego
Consejero de Medio Ambiente
C/ Lealtad 24
or sent to one of his assistants by email:
Rosa Villarino Salgado firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebeca Martín Gómez
An article (item 14) appeared in the Cantabrian version of El Mundo dated 22/7/2009, reporting an article by Juan Carlos and publishing photos from the web site.
JSC 5/5/09, 31/5/09, 22/7/09
1: Matienzo map showing the mineral rights area (green rectangle) with the quarry area and access roads
2: El Naso / Cubija map showing the nearby caves
3: Close up map
4: Detail of the quarry area taken from the company's proposal. This also shows storage, office and loading areas.
5: Photo of the current landscape looking approximately northeast. The landmark barn at the edge of the grassy depression can be seen on map 3.
6: Altered landscape photo showing approximate extent of the quarry and access roads.
7: An altered aerial photo showing the extent of the works.
8: A view from the road. The quarry base is above the road, but the rest of the hillside would disappear.
9: The full Project Jupiter document (pdf, 84Mb). Request to the Town Hall for permission to start the work with an abbreviated Project Jupiter document.
10: A photo from the Alisas-La Cavada road. The proposed quarry will be clearly visible.
11: Request for an environmental impact study
12: List of endangered
14: Article appearing in El Mundo 22/7/09