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.
Mineral Deposits and Metallurgy Production Sites
The coal deposits in the region of Aragón are: Oliete in Teruel, covering 600 km2 with reserves of 344 million tonnes; Utrillas-Aliaga in Teruel, covering 350 km2 with reserves of 255 million tonnes; and Mequinenza, located between Zaragoza and Huesca, covering 300 km2 and with reserves of 260 million tonnes.
One of the main mineral deposits of halite salt is located in Remolinos in the middle of the Zaragoza province. The deposit has reserves containing up to 4 million tonnes of halite salt. There are some mineral deposits of clay on the east area of Teruel with reserves of 850.000 tonnes. The iron deposists are mainly located on Sierra Menera in Teruel. In the past this reserve supplied part of the Mediterranean region of Spain. Currently it has reserves of 33 million tonnes. There are some deposits of alabaster gypsum in the province of Zaragoza with reserves of 40.000 tonnes located on 180 hectares.