Los Frailes Lead and Zinc Mine

Boliden Ltd.

The 1998 failure of the tailings dam at the Los Frailes mine wreaked widespread environmental havoc. The toxic mine wastes that were released caused a massive fish kill, damaged thousands of acres of farmland,[1] threatened a United Nations World Heritage Site[2] and eliminated 5,000 local jobs.[3] The Government of Spain spent $275 million cleaning up the waste.[4] The company is challenging a high court decision awarding the government $74 million in compensation and damages.[5] 


[1] Patterson, Kelly. Into the Final Frontier: in the race for resources, Canadian mining firms are leading the charge into environmental hotspots. The Ottawa Citizen. October 2, 2005 (hereinafter Patterson).

[2] United Nations Environment Programme Mineral Resources Forum. http://www.mineralresourcesforum.org/incidents/Losfrailes/index.htm>

[3] Ibid.

[4] Patterson.

[5] Ibid.