For 1.5 million euros, the starting price, you can acquire the heart of an old mining town located in the heart of the Sierra de los Filabres, in the province of Almera. In a few weeks, some of the main buildings in Las Menas will go up for auction. What were the headquarters, the casino and the movie club of the one that was the most important mine The lead and iron buildings of their time today have a ‘for sale’ sign hanging, as does the bachelor’s pavilion, intended for miners who had no family.
The Menas were, in their time of splendor, a real city with all services. From a hospital, a bachelor’s pavilion (for miners who had no family), a draftsman’s house and even a hermitage dedicated, of course, to Santa Bárbara. Nearly 3,000 people lived there and tons of mineral were extracted from its 25 kilometers of galleries.
Until 1968, the mining heart of Las Menas beat strongly, but that year it went out, the veins exhausted and, above all, due to the competition from other deposits, like the one in the Rif. Its streets, its hospital, its casino and its cinema club were abandoned and were victims of looting and vandalism until the complex was restored and recovered for tourism and as an attraction for the municipality of Serán, in whose district it is located.
But the project was not very successful and the office building, converted into an aparthotel, the casino and the cinema club, transformed into a restaurant, and the singles pavilion, as a service building, have been submerged in recent years. again in oblivion.
Property of the Junta de Andaluca, the government of Juanma Moreno has included the town of Las Menas – its most emblematic buildings – in its plan to get rid of unused or underused assets to make cash. Specifically, the old mining buildings have been included in a lot formed by Las Menas and three of the hotel complexes that were part of the network of tourist villages in Andalusia, a ruinous business that has cost the public coffers 24 million euros. . They are the tourist villages of Fuenteheridos, in Huelva, that of Pinar de la Vidriera, in the Granada town of Huscar, and that of Cazalla de la Sierra, in Seville. For the four, the Board hopes to get around four million euros.
But the Las Menas auction has encountered an unexpected obstacle. The municipality of Serán, with its mayor, Manuel Martínez at the head, has rebelled against the intention of the autonomous Administration to sell a good piece of the mining town that is not only the main tourist attraction of the town, but of the entire Almanzora region.
The Sierra de los Filabres, in fact, depended in the past largely on mining activity and when this was exhausted it was plunged into a deep crisis from which he tried to get out by specializing in the production of meat products and, singularly, in the production of ham.
The entire town, the councilor clarifies, is protected as Asset of Cultural Interest (BIC) and has not only an economic value, especially for the development of tourism in the area, but also a “sentimental value” since it continues to be, adds Martínez, an essential part of the past and the identity of Sern.
For all this, he announces that he is going to give the battle so that Las Menas “is not privatized” and has begun by meeting with the general director of Heritage of the Board, Joaquín Gallardo, whom he has asked to back down and remove the mining town from the auction and then give up the ownership of the buildings to the municipality. The mayor wants them to become part of Serón’s heritage and has in mind to recover their use through a concession, always without losing ownership of the properties.
Although his impression is that the Board “is not going to give in”, he is convinced that the auction, as far as Las Menas is concerned, “is going to be deserted” and that, then, the autonomous Government will consider negotiating with Serón. . Of course, he clarifies, that he does not intend a sale. “It would be absurd, it cannot be a commercial transaction, speculative“he points out.
“There is an important reaction among citizens, people are angry and initiatives are being proposed,” warns the mayor.
Tourism is seen in Sern as a new opportunity to get on the development train and in the plans In its municipal corporation, the mining past and, fundamentally, Las Menas, have a leading role.
Its Strategic Tourism Sustainability Plan foresees investments in the town and its revitalization, with a project to rehabilitate some of the exploitation galleries and the recovery of the so-called Road of the Greasers, which the mine’s oilers used to maintain the cable, the railway through which the ore was transported. They want to turn it into a trail with hanging bridges in the style of the Camino del Rey, in the province of Mlaga.
For their part, the Minister of Economy, Finance and European Funds – on which Heritage depends – assures that they have offered to award the buildings to the Sern City Council “for the minimum valuewithout obtaining any return.” And, they add, “it is not true that we have urged you to bid at the auction.”
Likewise, the Board will be willing to transfer, free of charge, the Forest park, which includes the director’s former house and the interpretation center, to be used for a public purpose. These sources recall that the City Council has already assigned the area for camping for years.
The auction in which you can bid for the mining town of Las Menas, for part of the complex, is scheduled for a few months. Until then, Sern threatens to fight for a piece of his municipality and your past.