For João Pedro Matos Fernandes, “just as Portugal regrets for having an energy matrix that is very dependent on the importation of fossil fuels, it should not suffer from an economic point of view by importing lithium that it can extract”.
“What we want is an industrial project in Portugal that uses this same lithium as far as possible in the industrial chain, through the “extraction, refining, construction of cells, batteries and the recycling of these batteries, because obviously we should only get them from the ground and should extract the minimum amount,” he said.
Despite the public objection to the mining of this metal, the official maintains that "lithium is essential for decarbonisation and lithium is essential for the digitisation of the economy".
Matos Fernandes also stressed that “what is being done is, in public discussion, a strategic environmental assessment, completely transparent and public”, after having been questioned about complaints that the mayors have not been heard.
The General Directorate of Energy and Geology (DGEG) has placed for public consultation the preliminary environmental assessment report of the Lithium Prospection and Exploration Program of the eight potential areas for launching the tender procedure. The public consultation period initially foreseen until November 10th was, however, extended until December 10th.
The preliminary environmental assessment report of the Lithium Prospection and Exploration Program (PPP Lithium) identified "some risks" in the eight potential areas of the North and Centre of the country, recognising even so that it is an opportunity for the "decarbonisation of the economy".
According to the report, the program "is an opportunity for society and the economy to evolve towards the decarbonisation of the economy and to pursue the strategy of energy transition".
In the preliminary document, eight areas in the North and Center of the country were analyzed: Arga (Viana do Castelo), Seixoso-Vieiros (Braga, Porto and Vila Real), Massueime (Guarda), Guarda - Mangualde (four areas spread over Guarda, Viseu, Castelo Branco and Coimbra) and Segura (Castelo Branco).