Everyone's responsibility

The karstic environment is a fragile one and needs systematic protection to defend it against actions that might have repercussions for the stability of the complex. The expansion that the Sorbas Karst has undergone in recent years has drawn a great many people to visit it, motivated both by its speleological value as well as by its value as a Natural Protected Space.

Even so, the impact that this type of tourism can have on the caves if it is not adequately controlled is nothing compared to the effect of the quarry devoted to the extraction of gypsum. The conflict between the environmental and the mining exploitation of the Sorbas karst is radical. The need to investigate economic alternatives for the municipality is clear: the mineral resource is finite; it is limited by the existence of the gypsum itself and there will come a day when the gypsum mining will be finished.

It is clear that any change in attitude towards recognizing that the gypsum could be exploited in another fashion will be gradual. Since we are dealing with such a remarkable place, and given the initially conflicting interests, it is necessary to arbitrate the mineral exploitation in a manner that allows other current or potential uses of this Natural Space to be developed with a long term perspective.

It must be possible to demonstrate that the Sorbas Gypsum Karst represents not only an alternative to other tourist activities but to gypsum mining as well. This once seemed impossible to hope for, but now moves closer day by day. We hope that in a few years time, we will not be talking of a lost opportunity.

Gypsum quarry in the Karst of Sorbas

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