A piece of Marbella’s surprising industrial past has been closed off by council workers in a bid to prevent accidents and encourage a colony of bats to settle there.
The entrance to the historic Buenavista mine is on the mountainside behind the town. Originally opened in 1836, it was a rich source of lead and part of the long-gone mining industry for which the town was once famous. At one time a tonne of lead was being extracted each day.
A resurgence in interest in Marbella’s heritage has seen increased numbers of visitors. The mine is accessed by a mountain walk behind the Nagüeles area and in recent years the town hall has also been encouraging school groups to visit the site, which has been cleaned up.
However up to now, the tunnel mouth has been wide open, increasing the risk of ramblers straying too far inside and getting disorientated or injured.
In addition, the increase in visitors is threatening the well-being of bats, a protected species, that live inside.
In order to solve both problems, the council has gained approval to install a gate in the tunnel to prevent access but with wide enough spaces in the bars to allow bats to enter and leave, in the hope that a full colony will soon start to flourish.
The Junta de Andalucía, which gave permission, has insisted that the gate is placed 30 metres inside the mouth, so that wildlife, including goats and boar, can still enter and drink from water that accumulates there.