A sensitive file could appear in Ariège: an MP attacks Bruno Le Maire

A sensitive file could appear in Ariège: an MP attacks Bruno Le Maire

The Salau mine in Ariège was operated from 1971 to 1986. (©Commune of Couflens)

The government wants to reopen Salau mine ? On the occasion of a question to the government, Tuesday 25 October 2022, Bénédicte Taurine, Member of Parliament for the 1st constituencyAriegecalled on this sensitive issue to the Minister of Economy and Finance.

For several years, associations and local elected officials have been fighting against this project located in the city Couflensin fear of threats to health and the environment.

However, it was the “largest tungsten deposit in the world”, estimated at the time by Apollo Minerals, the Australian group that in 2018 was awarded an Exclusive Mining Research Permit (PERM) for the controversial Hello mine.

A legal battle

On June 28, 2019, Toulouse Administrative Court set aside the order of October 21, 2016 of the Secretary of State for Industry which granted this research permit.

The Bordeaux Administrative Court of Appeal confirmed on June 16, 2020 the cancellation of the exploration permit, but for reasons other than those applied in the first instance.

But a hard blow to the opponents of the project, the state council – the highest administrative court – decided on an appeal in the Salau mine case this summer.

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The presence of asbestos

Therefore, this question to the government of the MP: “Is there a plan to reopen the Salau mine?” »

As a reminder, this former tungsten mine in Salau was operated from 1971 to 1986. “The reason was then drop in the price of tungsten writes Bénédicte Taurine. “However, the problem was not only economic. After a study by the Bureau of Geological and Mining Survey in 1983, it was indeed shown that the ore and surrounding rocks were laden with asbestos. And to remind that fourteen cases of lung cancer were counted.

What about the environment?

In addition to the harmful effects of working in the mine, a local elected official also points to “serious impacts on biodiversity”. In short, Bénédicte Taurine would like to bury this Couflens mining file once and for all.

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