Thursday, July 7

The mayor of Cáceres receives this Wednesday the lithium mine company almost two years after the last meeting


Luis Salaya, at a rally against the lithium mine in the Plaza Mayor in February 2021. / TODAY

Extremadura New Energies requested the appointment at the beginning of May to present the new underground exploitation project to the mayor

Claudio Mateos

The mayor of Cáceres and the management of the company that promotes the Valdeflores lithium mine and treatment plant will face each other this Wednesday for the first time in almost two years. Luis Salaya will receive in the morning at the town hall Ramón Jiménez, CEO of Extremadura New Energies (ENE), the new firm created by Infinity Lithium to manage its mining project. The objective of the meeting, requested by ENE at the beginning of May and which the municipal government has not included in its public agenda of forecasts for the day, is to inform the mayor of the novelties introduced in the project, the main one being that the exploitation it happens to be underground instead of in the open.

It was in July 2020 the last time that Luis Salaya met with those responsible for the mine. His interlocutor was then Felipe Benjumea, former president of Abengoa, whom Infinity Lithium signed to promote the Valdeflores mining project, but who only lasted a few months in the Australian company. The rejection of the municipal government did not move one iota after that meeting, which was not made public until a month after it took place and in which Benjumea came to offer 60 million euros in investments for the city.

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Salaya had previously met with the promoters of the mine as soon as he became mayor, in July 2019. On that occasion, he reiterated to the representatives of Tecnología Extremeña de Litio (TEL), the subsidiary with which Infinity Lithium operated at the time, the same rejection of the mine that the PSOE municipal group had been defending when it was in opposition. Even then, the meeting was not included in Salaya’s public agenda, and it was a week later that it became known.

Since his incorporation as CEO of ENE, Ramón Jiménez has been holding meetings with various sectors of Cáceres and Extremadura society to present the new project. The company has joined the Cáceres Business Circle, has signed a collaboration agreement with the transport association Asemtraex and at the end of May it will do the same with the Chamber of Commerce. He has also met with some political representatives, but he still had to meet with the mayor. In fact, Luis Salaya has come to question the existence of this new underground mine project, since it has not yet been formally registered with any administration.

briefing

The meeting scheduled for today cannot be considered an official presentation either, but rather an informative meeting to inform the municipal government of the changes that, according to what Infinity Lithium has been stating, have been introduced in response to what the promoters consider to be the demands of the Cáceres society. The most important is that the mine would be underground and the deposit would be accessed through a tunnel, for the entrance of which three possible locations are being considered. In addition, all the water necessary for lithium treatment would be obtained from the wastewater treatment plant and would be reused through a closed circuit.

On April 26, Salaya had to rectify some statements in which hours before he had stated that the Cáceres urban planning plan does not prohibit underground mining. He insisted that the plan prevents any type of extractive activity within two kilometers of the city.


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