According to a note from the Beira Serra ContraMineração Movement (which covers the municipalities of Seia, Gouveia, Mangualde, Oliveira do Hospital, Fornos de Algodres, Celorico da Beira and Nelas), the document’s signatories demand from the Government “transparency” and “a vision for the long term for rural areas”.
The Open Letter highlights the “urgent request to establish transparency and public participation” and requires “the publication of the existing proposal of the Decree-Law”.
“On 10 February, 17 Associations and Movements delivered a ‘request for public transparency in the context of the presentation of the new mine law to municipalities’ to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Action (MAAC). In the document, we expressed our deep concern regarding the opaque procedure in the allocation of rights to prospect, research and explore lithium and associated minerals in vast areas of the national territory, either through the State’s tender procedure or at the request of third parties”, reads the document sent to the Lusa agency.
According to the signatories, “to ensure greater transparency” they requested the disclosure of the dates of the presentation script to the municipalities and public participation in the presentations, but, to date, they are “unanswered”.
In addition to the “request for transparency”, the movements also declare their opposition to the removal of decision-making power from local authorities provided for in the Decree-Law, “at a time when the transfer of competences to local authorities in so many matters is promoted”.
In the document, they also recognise “the urgency of decarbonising the economy and developing strategies to mitigate climate change”, but do not consider that mining proposals “represent a valid contribution to sustainable development” in the territory.
“On the contrary, we believe that they will be the cause of economic decline and worsening emigration. We are convinced that our regions can be pioneers of genuinely sustainable development, and we demand from our political representatives a long-term vision for our rural and mountain territories”, the letter stated.
The Open Letter addressed to the Prime Minister, António Costa, was delivered, on Saturday, 22 February, in Seia, Guarda, at the opening of the Cheese Fair, to the Secretary of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Nuno Russo, by elements of the ContraMiningação Movement in Beira Serra and Citizens’ Movement for a Living Star, representing all movements and associations at national level “that strive for civic participation and a sustainable vision of rural development in their regions”.