Minister to be quizzed on lithium mining and Montijo airport

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 08-11-2019 16:50:00 · 0 Comments

Portugal’s People, Animal and Nature party (PAN) on Friday called for the urgent presence of the minister of the environment and climate action in parliament to provide clarifications on the Montijo airport and the exploitation of lithium in Montalegre.

PAN pointed out that "the entire concession process for lithium mining in Montalegre is surrounded by non-transparent procedures," and warned that "mining activity has numerous negative impacts on the environment and public health.

Recalling the process, PAN said that "on 28 March 2019, a concession contract was signed by the government and the Lusorecursos Portugal Lithium company for lithium mining in Montalegre", and that the "exploration and prospection concession was awarded in 2012 to the Lusorecursos Lda, contrary to the legally established", since the law provides that the exploration rights are "granted, under a concession regime, to the holder of the rights for prior assessment, prospection and exploration".

PAN also criticised the fact that the concession contract was signed "before the Environmental Impact Assessment was carried out, and only a preliminary study was carried out that had a negative opinion from the Portuguese Environment Agency".

In addition, the note added, "the National Strategy for Lithium was not the target of a Strategic Environmental Assessment, despite being mandatory according to the legislation, and which is a decision support tool in the context of spatial planning, including the active participation of citizens in the strategic approach and the early assessment of environmental, economic, social and cultural impacts".

Along with the minister of the environment, PAN also wants to call the environmentalist association ZERO, "university professors and/or researchers and the president of the Portuguese Environment Agency [APA], Nuno Lacasta" to parliament.

Another of the issues on the table at this hearing in parliament will be Lisbon’s secondary airport in Montijo.

In the communiqué sent today, PAN said that at the end of October the APA "issued the proposal for a Declaration of Environmental Impact relating to Montijo airport and its accesses, with the decision being 'conditionally favourable', making the project possible".

Citing "a group of professors / university researchers" who "demonstrated, pointing serious errors to the Environmental Impact Study" for this equipment, PAN pointed out "the possibility of the airport in the coming decades will be immersed due to rising water levels".

The parliamentary group also said that the place where this airport will be built "is six kilometres south of the Natural Reserve of the Tagus Estuary, partly overlapping the Special Protection Zone of the Tagus Estuary and the Site of Community Importance of the Tagus Estuary, which should already have been designated as a Special Area of Conservation, according to what is stipulated in the Habitats Directive".

Therefore, PAN stressed, "it is recognised that the construction of Montijo Airport will have significant impacts on birds," and "it is not clear exactly how it will be possible to ensure the preservation of these habitats as well as the protected species that are dependent on it, so it is important to clarify".


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