The Riotinto copper mine (Huelva) has 182 million cubic meters of waste (sterile) in three colossal pools. Scientists warn that pouring water into mining waste ponds increases their risk of breakage, a method used at the site. The largest ponds in the country, with a depth of up to 100 meters and a huge surface area of 595 hectares, each year incorporate 10 million cubic meters of toxic waste through transport and discharge through pipelines. Geochemical experts warn that in order to avoid environmental disasters due to pond failures such as the one that occurred in Aznalcóllar (Seville) in 1998, the key is to thicken the sludge and reduce the water as much as possible.
Two years ago, researcher Steven Emerman of the University of Utah made a grim prediction about Riotinto.
"The report said that there was a huge risk of breakage as the years went by," says Isidoro Albarreal, from Ecologistas en Acción, in this video.
“It is absolutely impossible”, replies Alberto Lavandeira, CEO of Atalaya Mining, which exploits the deposit, “because we have no water on top.
It is a storage of sand on which it can walk, where the water is recirculated 100% and it is built with rock as if it were a water dam ”.
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