BE accuses Government of “starting the other way around” in the national lithium strategy

in News · 29-02-2020 14:00:00 · 0 Comments

The Bloco de Esquerda (BE) defended that the Government is “starting the other way around” in the national strategy for lithium without giving guarantees to the affected populations, leaving them “quite frightened and with very little information”.

“If the Government has in the national strategy for lithium the 'touchstone', as it has been claiming, for the national economy, because then they are starting the other way around, without any guarantee for the population of prevention in the interventions of possible exploitation of lithium”, defended the deputy of the BE in the Assembly of the Republic, Maria Manuel Rola.

The BE deputy was speaking after visiting the populations affected by the prospecting for lithium in the municipalities of Boticas and Montalegre, in the district of Vila Real.

For Maria Manuel Rola, people are “very scared and with very little information” and this is a “process that started badly and continues badly”.

According to BE, if the exploitation of lithium is “so decisive for the national economy, it would make perfect sense if it were a national design”.

"It should be taken by public entities that would guarantee all the consistency of the process and that it would not come here to harm people and would bring a positive impact to these places", she defended.

"This is a huge mistake, what is being done here should not go ahead and any initiative from here to the future must be based on the new legislation," she said.

During the morning Maria Manuel Rola visited populations affected by lithium prospecting in Covas do Barroso, in the municipality of Boticas, and in the afternoon, the population in Morgade, in the municipality of Montalegre.

Present at the meeting with the population of the parish of Morgade, the head of the Montalegre Com Vida association, Armando Pinto, explained that he has sought to “clarify the greatest number of people” about requests for prospecting and exploring lithium, not only in the municipality of Montalegre, but across the region.

“Many people had no idea and more and more people have appeared in the clarification sessions that we have been promoting. The number of people trying to understand what is happening is growing”, he said.

Armando Pinto also recalls that there are other areas of Alto Tâmega, in addition to Montalegre and Boticas, such as Chaves, Vila Pouca de Aguiar or Ribeira de Pena, which may be affected.

At the headquarters of the Parish Council of Morgade, around two dozen people attended the meeting with the deputy of BE, in an exchange of concerns and information about the exploration of lithium in the region.

Nuno Afonso, 39, residing in the village of Rebordelo, in the parish of Morgade, was present because he argues that the exploration of lithium in his area of ??residence will compel him to abandon the land where he decided to live.

"I am a teacher and I chose to live in my land, but I am apprehensive because I do not know if I will be able to continue living here if this progresses," he explained.

The lithium exploration project, in Montalegre, proposes a mixed exploration, in the open and underground, and foresees the creation of an industrial unit and "370 jobs" by 2025, according to the EIA delivered by the company Lusorecursos.

“This solution makes it possible to reduce the impact on the environment, especially with regard to affecting the landscape and reducing emissions, while maintaining the economic viability of the project,” says the document.

The concession corresponds to an area of ??825.4 hectares, inserted in the parishes of Morgade and Sarraquinhos, in the municipality of Montalegre, district of Vila Real, and is being challenged by the local population, which points to concerns regarding the size of the mine and environmental, health and agricultural consequences.

Savannah Lithium presented an exploration project for the Barroso mine, in the municipality of Boticas, which foresees an initial investment of 100 million Euros and 300 direct jobs, but which is being contested by the local population.

The company is preparing the Environmental Impact Study (EIA) and has already said it intends to begin exploration in late 2020.


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