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Book Chapter

Economic and environmental geology

By
Rosario Lunar
Rosario Lunar
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Teresa Moreno
Teresa Moreno
(coordinators)
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Manuel Lombardero
Manuel Lombardero
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Manuel Regueiro
Manuel Regueiro
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Fernando LóPez-vera
Fernando LóPez-vera
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Wenceslao Martínez Del Olmo
Wenceslao Martínez Del Olmo
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Juan M. Mallo García
Juan M. Mallo García
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José A. Saenz De Santa Maria
José A. Saenz De Santa Maria
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Félix García-Palomero
Félix García-Palomero
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Pablo Higueras
Pablo Higueras
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Lorena Ortega
Lorena Ortega
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Ramón Capote
Ramón Capote
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Published:
January 01, 2002

Abstract

Spain has a great variety of metallic and industrial rock and mineral deposits, as well as important energy and water resources. Within the European Union it has a pre-eminent position, being the country with the highest level of production of raw materials for its own use (Table 19.1). Spain is a first-rank producer of several non-metallic minerals such as celestite, sodium sulphate, magnesite, potassium and sepiolite, and ornamental rocks such as granite and marble. There are huge quarrying operations currently active in gypsum, clays, slate and aggregate. Spanish ores include examples of world-class deposits such as Almadén, by far the largest mercury deposit in the world, and the Iberian Pyritic Belt with its giant and supergiant massive sulphide deposits that include the world’s largest at Rio Tinto. Exploration programmes developed in the 1990s have resulted in the discovery of new deposits, both in already active mining districts (e.g. Migollas, Aguas Teñidas, Las Cruces and Los Frailes in the Pyritic Belt, and new mercury reserves in Almadén) and in new areas (e.g. El Valle-Carl és for gold, Aguablanca for nickel). However, despite the large reserves of metallic minerals that exist in the country, mining is only currently active for copper, mercury, gold and zinc (Table 19.2). One legacy of the long mineral exploitation history in Spain results from the fact that, before the 1980s, environmental damage was considered to be an inevitable consequence of the extractive Spanish mining industry. This has produced many environmental problems associated with

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Geology of Series

The Geology of Spain

Wes Gibbons
Wes Gibbons
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Teresa Moreno
Teresa Moreno
Jaume Almera Institute, CSIC, Barcelona
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Geological Society of London
ISBN electronic:
9781862393912
Publication date:
January 01, 2002

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