Endesa was awarded the FondenaPrize, the coveted biennial award given by Spain's National Fund for the Protection of Nature to people or organisations that have distinguished themselves in protecting the environment.
The prize was handed to the president of Endesa Borja Prado by the Fund's president King Juan Carlos of Spain for the management of the closing down and rehabilitation of the As Pontes coal mine in Coruña, a project that won several prizes in Spain and has also been named as a 'model' plan by the European Union.
The project – which was completed in June 2012 – regarded a mining area of about 2,000 hectares, in which the extraction of 262 million tonnes of brown coal had left a large amount of sterile materials and two vast 200-metre deep pits.
Endesa has transformed the area into an 800-hectare lake that is surrounded by 1,200 hectares of pastureland and woods, where around 180 different vertebrate species live and reproduce. Up to now, it's the most remarkable environmental rehabilitation project carried out in Spain.
The entire region of Galicia benefitted from the transformation of the mine, but in particular the area of As Pontes, which has become a new centre of tourism.
Besides being used for sporting events like last year's Galicia Sailing Championships, a large amount of visitors are now being attracted to the area both because of its biodiversity and curiosity over how a former mining area has been rehabilitated. The new 500-metre long beach next to the As Pontes urban area has been visited by thousands of sunbathers over the last two summers.