Brittany mining will leave a pollution legacy for decades

News from the Celtic League:

It says something for the anger over the mining licence granted to Variscan Mines that a second bomb attack has been made on the organisation which has a massive 400sq km licence to develop mineral extractions in Central Brittany.

The area extends around and south of Mur-de-Bretagne which coincidentally myself and Mark Kermode of Mec Vannin visited some years ago to attend a political conference. It’s a beautiful and unspoiled area of the central part of the country. The big question is how long it will stay that way once mining gets underway seriously.

The objective of Variscan is to exploit minerals such as gold and other valuable metals it believes exist in workable quantities in the area. The current high prices for these metals of world commodities markets make their extraction viable.

However at what cost? We are well aware of the damage down globally by mining operations. Of all industries, mining is the one that has the greatest environmental impact.

The impact is greatest when the metals are extracted from close to the surface (open-cast mines).

The extraction of the metals requires huge amount of water and the use toxic chemicals (Cyanide, for example), which can seep in the nature (soils, stream, rivers).

The pollution does not stop after the mine closes but remains for decades.

Metal prices are very high at the moment, and exploration is therefore lucrative even when the metals occur in low concentrations (less than 5 grammes per ton, in some cases).

However once Variscan and the French State have made their money and moved on the Breton people will have to live with the legacy for decades to come!

Image: Shows police at the scene after the bomb attack last year on the entrance to Variscan mines outside Brittany in Orléans. The graffiti says in Breton: ‘Diwall ta Variscan’ or ‘Be careful Variscan’

Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.


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