"This (closure) will mean an emigration of 5,500 people in the best case scenario, or 10,000 if there is a lot of informal employment at the moment", said Tomaz Dentinho, an economist and lecturer at the university.

On an island with 55,000 inhabitants wthis would correspond to a reduction of 10% to 20% of the population, which, according to the economist would have a multiplier effect since a smaller population would not have a business class with the ability to react and risked losing some skills and activities.

Until the autumn, the US intends to reduce the current 803 Portuguese works to just 370, but union estimates point towards the loss of 1,500 jobs, if indirect employment is also taken into account.