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An advisory body of the Unesco alert against a copper mine along the Way

the answer to the social and environmental harvesting from Santiago to the Ría de Arousa, the project of a copper mine next to the Road, is now added an advisor

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An advisory body of the Unesco alert against a copper mine along the Way

the answer to the social and environmental harvesting from Santiago to the Ría de Arousa, the project of a copper mine next to the Road, is now added an advisory body of Unesco, which has warned the Government that the megaminería can put at risk the condition of Patrimony of the Humanity of the routes jacobeas. The Icomos (International Council on Monuments and Sites) was concluded on 29 October a report is devastating about the plans of the company Copper San Rafael, owned by Watchtower Mining, the multinational company of the mine of Riotinto (Huelva), which aspires to the galician Government to authorize new duties in a few fields open to the sky partially exploited decades ago.

The mining concession is divided between the municipalities coruñeses Touro and Or Pine, this last the door of the French Way to Compostela, and he recalled the Icomos plans to extend its facilities (craters, rafts with large retaining walls, tanks, middens, ships and tracks) for a surface of 1.827 acres. A territory today is already contaminated by the old mine in which, say several environmental groups, will occur more than 2,000 jets a year. "The exploitation involves the extraction of 267.070.882 tons of material, of which 164.335.911 are sterile and 102.743.950 ore", as stated in the report of Icomos. "It will take large movements of land that will alter in a serious way the geomorphology of the terrain and will lead to the felling of trees". The life of the mine, with all its phases, will include "16 and a half years".

Representatives of Icomos in Spain visited last June, the enclave and met with the developer company. Four months later concluded that the project could cause a "severe negative impact, with the possibility of disappearance" of various heritage elements. One of them is the "branch of the historical and documented the Camino de Santiago" that linked the town of Arzúa with the village of Amenal, "in which it is recognized as a historic road, the stretch Quión-Ark". Others are two mámoas or burials and megalithic a castro, the Cup, that supposedly already comes destroyed at the hands of the new company by mining activity in the past. Apart from this, the Icomos warns on the significant "impact" in another historical way in several mills and churches, and in the "landscape values, environmental and intangible territorial area that make up the environment of the Camino de Santiago, and give it character".

despite appearing on maps old and to be recognized as a path "historic", the stretch alternative to the Camino Francés to Santiago among the places of Quión and Arca, to the north of the mine, was not protected by the Government in 2011, when by a decree passed by the delimitation officer of the roads to compostela. That legal protection would have shielded this branch, which formerly frequented the pilgrims (but now neither is marked), not only with a "protective environment", but with a "buffer zone", which takes into account the aggression sensory of the route.

"The largest attack suffered by the path in soil gallego"

A pilgrim, a stretch protected from the Camino Francés in O Pino (A Coruña). OSCAR CORRAL

S. R. P.

The first voice of alarm about the impact of the mine on the cultural route the gave before the summer, the International Fraternity of the Camino de Santiago (FICS), which brings together pilgrims from 27 countries. The collective is now the endorsement of the report of Icomos to "this disproportionate project at the foot of the French Way," and remember that the document will produce "experts in the field of World Heritage". For the FICS, "confirms that we are before one of the greatest threats to the conservation of the Camino de Santiago as a cultural asset of universal value".

The entity pilgrim explains that he has met with the company and with the platform of affected by the mine, and also has commissioned studies on their own. After all this, declares his "resounding rejection of the project, completely oblivious to the context jacobine, that poses a threat to the cultural values of the Path". To be carried out as planned, defends the Fraternity, "in all probability could become the greatest attack on wealth suffered by the path in soil gallego".

The galician Government referred to the report of Icomos, with whom he collaborated this summer but only in part. The international body addressed to three ministries of the Government (Industry, Environment and Culture) to check the status Bets10 of the processing of the authorization of mining and states that two of the departments of regional (in Industry and the Environment) to which it was referred after that to get reports never came to answer.

If you would have taken that policy decision, regrets Icomos, now this way "would not be seriously affected by the mining project that threatens the destruction of a part by the formation of a huge dump", "what sepultaría". That's why the advisor of the Unesco warns: "be made as it is projected it would lead to the destruction" of both the path as the prehistoric remains localized, something that "is considered looting and is prohibited by the Constitution and by the regulations on heritage".

in Addition, although physically the mine does not touch the French Way that is protected, "the visual impact and the perception of the mining activity will become apparent from different places in the path by the length of the front of the exploitation". Icomos is echoed by the environmental study of the company and estimated that in some points of this BIC the landscape of mining will lead to the "25% of the visible horizon". "This condition is not a matter purely perceptive", he warns: "Quite the contrary, is a clear violation of the current legislation". Also "would lead to a serious disruption of the intangible values, derived from a close union between culture, nature and spirituality that is the essence of the Way", reminds the report signed by the president in Spain, Alicia Castillo.

"The intangible values and the environment should not be disregarded in this case," he insists, because "they are the key to the inclusion of the Path in the List of World Heritage and its consideration as a Cultural Route of Outstanding Universal Value". Before this, defend categorical Icomos, "the Authorities should consider whether the mining operation for 16 years is so relevant to Galicia as to impair their obligations to the Convention on the Protection of World Heritage, and under, up to now millennium, a space that, by its uniqueness and shared values (and absolutely unique) is protected by the Unesco and the Council of Europe". Without taking into account that the Way bat successive records and shoots their figures in the holy years, the report estimates that "approximately 2.700.000 pilgrims may be affected" in the life-time of the fishing activity if they do not apply "corrective measures".

"Europe was made on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela", summarizes Icomos quoting Goethe. The Way from the French border it measures about 800 kilometers and is "marked by more than 1,800 immovable cultural properties documented," which form a "cluster of art and history", protected since 1993 by the Unesco. Economically and culturally, the path is the true philo. The central Government and the regional Government of Galicia, pointing to the International Council of Monuments and Sites, are responsible to "ensure their conservation, at least in the state that presented at the time of inclusion in the list of" the world.

What dictates the own Law of Spanish Historical Heritage since 1985: in spite of the repeated attacks suffered by all routes jacobeas for decades, the Way you can not destroy, displace or cut. And also you can perform works in the environment that "impede his contemplation, to modify the environment and alter the character of the place degradándolo," recalls Icomos. "The non-compliance of the obligation to protect and conserve a good can lead to the World Heritage Committee to include it in the list of" elements "at risk", announced below. And, moreover, "it is evident that, in this case, has not been taken into account the need to prevent the Committee regarding the action that is intended to perform," he reproaches, which "contravenes the commitments acquired by Spain. "In the case of the loss of the exceptional values, or that the State is not solvent, the dangers, proven or potential, that may affect the well, this can be excluded from the List of World Heritage by Unesco", arrives to warn the institution.

A report "inaccurate and outdated"

Icomos is a society and not the government, with headquarters in Paris, who was born in 1965 as a result of the Venice Charter. Is linked to the UN through Unesco, and in recent years has prepared a number of reports on the path, the saint james in Spain. But Copper San Rafael rejects their conclusions. "It's a private entity" that "in no case has the competence to represent" to the Unesco, argues in a press release. According to the company, "competition protection and representation of the Camino de Santiago corresponds, exclusively, to the Government," charged "to ensure that such projects comply with the stringent regulations that protect the heritage".

According to the firm's mining, the international body that is out of date. "From two years ago, a team of archaeologists working in the area of locating and cataloging" property, and each finding is reported to the Government, says San Rafael. Representatives of Icomos, criticism, carried out a visit to "a morning of duration" to the terrain of the mine and "obviate the corrective measures ruled on already by Heritage, and collected by the company in a supplementary report". The document of the adviser of the Unesco, for the miners, it is "inaccurate and outdated".

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