Spain is to shut down most of its coalmines by the end of the year after government and unions struck a deal that will mean €250m (£221m) will be invested in mining regions over the next decade.
Pedro Sánchez’s new leftwing administration has moved quickly on environmental policy, abolishing a controversial “sunshine tax” on the solar industry, and announcing the launch of Spain’s long-delayed national climate plan next month.
Unions hailed the mining deal – which covers Spain’s privately owned pits – as a model agreement. It mixes early retirement schemes for miners over 48, with environmental restoration work in pit communities and re-skilling schemes for cutting-edge green industries.
Teresa Ribera, the minister for ecological transition, said: “With this agreement, we have solved the first urgent task we had on the table when we came to government. Our aim has been to leave no one behind. We also want to go further, we want to innovate.
That is why we offer the drawing up of ‘Just Transition’ contracts, with the aim of helping the regions to consolidate the employment of the future.” More than a thousand miners and subcontractors will lose their jobs when 10 pits close by the end of the year.