This project consists of mining an open-cast volcanic rock quarry for a period of 30 years over a total area of 13 ha for an annual production of 200,000 tonnes and a maximum of 250,000 tonnes per year.
The Vosges Saônoises
The multinationals Eqiom (ex-Holcim/Lafarge, a subsidiary of CRH, a multinational based in Ireland) and Vinci (via its subsidiary GDFC, ex-Eurovia) under the name of a consortium “Société des Carrières de Ternuay”, in which they own the majority of shares, want to raze a mountain by opening a porphyry quarry in Ternuay, in the Vosges Saônoises.
Despite an initial refusal by the Justice Department, the promoters of this project are back in charge. A new public enquiry is carried out to carry out this third application to exploit the deposits on this site. This inquiry will last one month (until 8 November) and will enable the Commissioner-investigator to give an advisory opinion before the Prefect’s decision.
Endangered fauna and flora
However, the association for the Safeguarding of the Thousand Ponds is mobilizing public opinion to refuse this project, which would be destructive for the site. Here are its arguments.
The figures speak for themselves: 24 protected species (identified during the classification as a Natural Zone of Ecological, Faunistic and Floristic Interest – ZNIEFF, category II) are directly threatened by the project, including emblematic species of our countryside: hedgehog, tawny owl, red frog, spotted woodpecker, palm newt.
These species live on the planned farmland, in addition to the species inhabiting the surrounding streams and waterways, particularly crayfish and dragonflies.
In addition to the fauna, the flora is also under threat. The site contains a bark beetle, an extremely rare configuration on this type of soil. The site is also close to several remarkable geological structures: the glacial lock of Servance, the kettle of the pond of Rondes Planches as well as the Saut de l’Ognon.
The purpose of this quarry is to extract volcanic rocks (mainly porphyry, high quality rock). However, local needs are already covered in excess by the extractions carried out for the same type of rock in the department’s quarries: one located at Amont-et-Effreney, less than 15 km from the site planned for the new extraction area, in the same community of communes; the other, at Lepuix-Gy (30 km away) is running at half its capacity due to a lack of demand. The aberration of the Ternuay project is compounded by the fact that the unused capacity at Lepuix-Gy corresponds exactly to the capacity required for the opening of the Ternuay quarry.
Economic and tourism impact
This environmental heritage is not only an ecological treasure but also a revitalising driving force for this rural area, which has gained notoriety thanks in particular to the Tour de France with the ascent of the Planche des Belles Filles, whose passage in 2020 will be the fifth in less than ten years.
At a time when the sector is moving towards an economic policy based on green tourism: hiking, horse riding and cycling, this quarry project is threatening the efforts to develop the sector. In fact, in addition to leading to the Belles-Filles, the roads that the trucks would use are part of several other cycling circuits, including in particular the Tour des trois balons (a sports race) and the boucle de la petite Finlande (a very popular cycling-tourist loop).
What are tourism-related jobs worth? How many will disappear for good? How many will be threatened in the longer term? No study has seen fit to determine this impact, this subject having been passed over in silence. What are the consequences, for example, for the couple of young permaculture-oriented market gardeners whose crops are located below the proposed site?
A danger known to elected officials
Local elected officials, whatever their opinion, know the threat posed by this project. The report of the mayor of Mélisey, whose mayor, Régis Pinot, is also president of the Community of Communes concerned by the project, is the most revealing:
Considering the risk of accidents linked to the increase in heavy vehicle traffic […] :
– with an increase in danger when crossing the village, […], at the exit of schools (200 students), College (400 students), […].
– increased danger for pedestrians and cyclists.
[On the subject of cycling, let’s note here that the Mayor, Régis Pinot, is the father of cycling champion Thibaut Pinot.]
Considering the risks related to health and well-being, notably by air pollution with fine particles (trucks), noise pollution, visual pollution, dust, mine blasting, various nuisances for local residents, […],
Considering the denatured living environment,
Considering the destruction of a protected area: damaged and polluted natural heritage, the destruction of a remarkable habitat classified as a ZNIEFF, the loss of a remarkable geological heritage, the modification of the natural environment conducive to fauna and flora,
Considering the impact on the local economy and the incompatibility with local and departmental choices for the development of green tourism in particular
– the loss of image of the Thousand Ponds sector,
– the impact on tourism (development project for cycle tourism, equestrian circuit adjacent to the quarry), shops, crafts, real estate transactions, etc.
– the inconsistency with the heavy investments made by the communities for the development of the Planche des Belles filles, the creation of the nature and culture area, the opening of hiking and cycling circuits,
The City Council issues an unfavourable opinion on the opening of this quarry.