Protest against lithium mining, prospecting in Montalegre

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 23-01-2020 15:41:00 · 0 Comments

The Montalegre Com Vida Association has called for a gathering on Saturday, the day of the Fumeiro Fair, to protest against the open-air lithium mine planned in the district and new prospecting requests.

Armando Pinto, leader of the association, said Thursday that the goal is "to draw attention to what is happening in the county," where, in addition to the contract already signed between Lusorecursos Portugal Lithium and the State, for exploration in the parish of Morgade, there are still "eight more requests for prospecting.

According to the Ecologist Party Os Verdes, the Directorate of Energy and Geology (DGEG) confirmed the "intention of the company Lusorecursos Portugal Lithium to make new prospecting work in the area intended for the Romano mine, before the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), under a provision in the exploration contract".

"Of these requests, there are three that already have prospecting rights, that is, they have permission from the DGEG to do the prospecting", added Armando Pinto.

He continued: "Most of the parishes are already receiving requests for prospecting. This is worrying".

The protest is scheduled for the town square, from where participants will leave for the fair area, taking the opportunity to hand out leaflets and alert the many expected visitors and emigrants, who are now returning to their homeland, to the consequences of mining.

Residents in the villages of Morgade, Rebordelo and Carvalhais oppose the project, listing concerns about the size of the mine and environmental consequences on health and agriculture.

In November, the Associação Montalegre com Vida (Montalegre with Life Association) filed a lawsuit with the aim of cancelling the concession contract for lithium exploration signed in March between DGEG and Lusorecursos Portugal Lithium.

Lusorecursos reported that on January 6th it handed over the Environmental Impact Study (EIA) to the Portuguese Environment Agency for the lithium mine in Montalegre, which confirms the open mine, up to a depth of about 920 meters, then passing to a tunnel.

In addition to mining, the project in Morgade (Romana/Sepeda mine) also includes the construction of a refinery.

Last week, 15 civic movements opposing the prospecting and exploitation of lithium and other minerals launched a national manifesto "vehemently" repudiating the mining plan that the government intends to develop in nine areas of the country.

Interest in Portuguese lithium aroused in 2016, when 30 new requests for prospecting and research on this metal were received, driven by the increase in global demand due to the use of electric car batteries.

Since then, several environmental associations, councils and the population have spoken out against the prospecting and exploitation of lithium, with the government arguing, on the other hand, that this resource is essential for energy transition.


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