About the Region
Aragón is an autonomous community in the northeast of Spain, located between Barcelona and Madrid, the two major cities and economic centres of the country. Aragón is home to about 1.3 million people and it comprises the provinces of Zaragoza, Huesca and Teruel, covering a total area of of 47.719 km2. Zaragoza is the regional capital and the fifth most populated city in Spain.
The main economic activity of the region is the services industry, due to the important role that tourism plays, with a number of places of interest like Pirineos. However, the manufacturing industry is also of the utmost importance for the economic development of the region, specially the automobile industry. The main productions are related with metallurgy, transport, food and electronic devices, although there are other industries being increasingly promoted, like the ones related with renewable energy.
The Mining and Metallurgy Industry
Aragón is one of the autonomous communities of Spain with greatest wealth in its sub-soil. Mineral resources for very diverse uses can be found beneath its surface. Of particular note are the coal deposits located in the mining basins of Oliete, Utrillas-Aliaga and Mequinenza, mined primarily for its use in thermal power stations.
Due to both the variety and type of existing mining operations, Aragón is a market leader in the extraction of non-metallic minerals such as clay, in particular special clays that are used in the manufacture of household and industrial absorbent granular and refractory clays, which in turn are used to manufacture ceramic tiles, flooring and bathrooms. It is also worth mentioning the alabaster sector, which is a variety of gypsum whose exploitations covers 180 hectares.
Another of the non-metallic minerals extracted in Aragón and which is notable for its strategic importance is halite (rock salt), used in the production of chlorine. The greatest concentration of this is found in Remolinos and in lower quantities in some areas of the province of Huesca.
Also worthy of mention is the extraction of metallic minerals. Today, they are almost a historical legacy but in the past the extraction of iron ore from Sierra Menera was of enormous importance to this area.
A project call Muga is being developed between Aragón, in the municipalities of Undués de Lerda and Urriés, and Navarra. Its main aim is the extraction of sylvinite from deposits which are no more than 250m depth.