“We all really want to pass the screen and assess the underground project,” says the mayor before meeting this Monday with the Save the Mountain platform
«We all really want to pass the screen and assess the underground project». With these words, the mayor of Cáceres, Luis Salaya, expressed this Monday his wish that the company promoting the Valdeflores lithium mine, Extremadura New Energies (a subsidiary of Infinity Lithium), present its new underground exploitation project as soon as possible, so that the municipal government can analyze it and decide whether to support it or not.
Salaya has assured that what there is right now is “a clear and sharp opposition to the open-air project and a new project that we will value when it is presented.” In this way, he opens the door for the City Council to position itself in the near future in favor of the underground mine, but first it needs “more information” and, above all, it sets very demanding conditions to be able to consider the possibility of a yes. The first is that the impact on the Sierra de la Mosca must be in any case and in a guaranteed way “compatible with life in the city” as it is now, without changes in the quality of life derived from mining activity. The second, that there must be an important consideration in the form of jobs, and the third, that the mine must be accompanied by some truly significant industrial project in the city.
The mayor considers that if the company wants to make it credible that its true intention is an underground mine, what it must do immediately is to withdraw both the open judicial appeal against the denial of the investigation permit for the open pit mine, as well as the project that is registered in the Junta de Extremadura and that, to this day, is still the only one that formally exists. The mayor especially insists on that point: that right now there is nothing more than an open-air project and that the rest are still “castles in the air”.
Salaya denies that Cáceres society is changing its opinion regarding the mine. “What there is is a moment of doubt to see what is presented and assess it,” he says, adding that “we have not done any study of changes of opinion.”
He also insists on a message that he already launched last Friday: that the announced Envision and Acciona battery gigafactory for electric vehicles in Navalmoral de la Mata, although it is also good for the provincial capital, “is not going to generate a change of opinion in Cáceres”, in relation to the lithium mine and that it is up to Extremadura New Energies “to make an offer to the city and convince public opinion that it is a good project”. He does not comment on what could be that great industrial consideration that the mine developer would have to offer, because “I am not going to do the job of saying what kind of things can convince the people of Cáceres.”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.