SPAIN: Aznalcollar mine continues to leak

Authorities in Andalucia have reported that the recently re-opened zinc mine at Aznalcollar continues to pollute the Guadiamar river with acidic water containing high levels of zinc and manganese.

According to reports in El Pais the pollution plume is widening and has been detected some 16 km downstream of the tailings dam that ruptured in April last year.

According to the Confederación Hidrográfica del Guadalquivir (part of the Environment Ministry), leaks of acidic water have been occurring for years, but pollution levels have increased since March – previously high levels of heavy metals could only be detected in waters next to the mine, but now they can be detected several kilometres away.

The Confederación says that the pollution may be due to failure by the operator, Boliden, to properly seal the broken tailings dam.

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