The social-democrat mayor said a public information session, aimed at the local population and other interested parties, is scheduled for February to present the mining project.

Additionally, Nuno Gonçalves said that the Environmental Compliance Report of the Execution Project (RECAPE) was approved, without conditions.

"Finally the RECAPE has been approved in full and without conditions, which will allow the restart of the mining exploration in the municipality of Torre de Moncorvo," in the district of Bragança, the mayor said.

The mayor said that MTI - Ferro de Moncorvo has recently competed for a tender that aims to organise the coastal area for the supply of "breakwater" blocks, given the unique density of raw material existing in the iron mines of Moncorvo for the construction of these elements.

The mayor said that there have been delays in the mining process due to the scrutiny made by the entities involved.

In early November, the directorate-general for energy and geology (DGEG) authorised Aethel Mining to control the Torre de Moncorvo iron mine, a company that hopes to put Portugal in a leading position in European mining.

Aethel Partners said that Aethel Mining Limited, a British company owned exclusively by Portuguese Ricardo Santos Silva and American Aba Schubert has received DGEG approval to take control of the Moncorvo mine, a very significant iron ore deposit in Europe.

Aethel Mining is excited about the restart of mining operations in this historic asset, which will take Portugal back to a leading position in European mining, the company's co-founder, Ricardo Santos Silva, said in a statement issued in November 2019.

The company said that its shareholders have a long history of success in investing in mining assets around the world and a specialised engineering team in Portugal prepared to begin operations.

This, he added, will boost the local economy by bringing more employment and commercial activity.

The Moncorvo mines, whose 2016 concession was awarded to MTI, Ferro de Moncorvo, SA, are attractive to Aethel Mining not only for their economic prospects but also for their sustainability profile - being a very significant iron ore deposit in the heart of Europe - and for their potential to revitalise a historic asset of the local economy, the company said.

Aethel pointed out that its project for Moncorvo differs from that of all its peers by making full use of its vision of sustainability and environmental sensitivity.

In November 2016, when the definitive contract for this concession was signed with MTI, the then minister of economy, Manuel Caldeira Cabral, highlighted the government's efforts to speed up this project, Lusa reported.

MTI said it expected to invest €114 million by 2026 and produce about 6 million tonnes of ore in the first five years of operation.

According to MTI, in the first stage, it is considered the creation of more than 200 direct jobs, to which will be added more than 250 in the following stages. It is also estimated the creation of 800 indirect jobs.

The Torre de Moncorvo iron mines were the largest employer in the region in the 1950s, employing 1,500 miners.

Mining was suspended in 1983 with the bankruptcy of Ferrominas.