Manuel Regueiro y González-Barros

Chief of External Affairs and Communication
Geological Survey of Spain

Professor Manuel Regueiro, holds a BSc Geology from the Complutense University of Madrid (1979). Since 2005 he is the Chief of External Affairs of the Geological Survey of Spain (IGME). He has been working (and still works) the last 20 years as a specialist on industrial minerals. Has been Associate Professor of the Department of Crystallography and Mineralogy of the School of Geology of the Complutense University of Madrid. As a researcher he has participated in over 30 research projects. As principal researcher, he has directed 6 research projects. He has a wide and recognized international reputation in his fields of knowledge. He is an active member of a number of scientific societies (Spanish Society of Ceramic & Glass (Member of the Board), Spanish Geological Society, Spanish Society for the Defense of the National Mining and Geological Heritage (former member of the Board)) and has very good relationships with many national mining industrial associations and its European counterparts (Spanish Stone Federation, Spanish National Aggregates Manufacturing Association, Spanish Industrial Minerals Association, etc.). Manuel Regueiro has been the President of the European Federation of Geologists, an organization where he served for two mandates (1996-1999 and 2007-2009) and is currently President of the Spanish Association of Professional Geologists (ICOG) and founding member and former Secretary of the NGO “World Geologists.”

The mining potential of Spain

Spain has a long mining tradition particularly in the production of gold and other metals and has a large mining potential. Today there are 2731 operating mines and approximately 1000 closed.

Spain is the only European producer of sodium sulphate and hosts 70% of the world sepiolite resources (around Madrid); it’s the main fluorspar producer in Europe, the world's fifth largest gypsum producer and first in Europe, the world’s second largest and only European producer of celestine. It also possesses the largest European feldspathic sand reserves for the production of feldspar. Spain is the second European producer of nickel, third in tungsten and fourth in copper and zinc. Spain had the largest known reserves of celestite (Europe's sole producer, ranking second in world production, behind Mexico); was home to the richest mercury deposit in the world and one of the biggest open-pit zinc mines in Europe. Spain was the largest EU producer of mine lead and zinc, and a major producer of pyrites, among other nonferrous and precious metals. Production far exceeded domestic consumption for most non-metallic minerals, and Spain was a net exporter to other EU countries of lead, mercury, non-metallic-mineral manufactured products, slate, other crude industrial minerals, and zinc. In terms of value, Spain was one of the leading EU countries, with one of its highest levels of self-sufficiency in mineral raw materials. Almost all known minerals were found in Spain, and mining was still a notable, though much diminished, factor in the economy—mining production in 2017 was 3480 M€. Of the 100 minerals mined, 18 were produced in large quantities—bentonite, copper, fluorspar, glauberite, gold, iron, lead, magnetite, mercury, potash, pyrites, quartz, refractory argillite, sea and rock salt, sepiolite, tin, tungsten, and zinc. Metals and chemicals were leading industries in 2017.