"Despite this bucket of cold water, unbelievable in 2021 and in a European country, the GPSA is analysing the situation and will continue to fight on behalf of everyone, even if it is appealing to the courts", wrote that movement in a statement published on Facebook and in which it reacts to the recent signing of the concession contract for mining exploration in Serra da Argemela.

On Wednesday, in a written response to Lusa news agency, the General Directorate of Energy and Geology (DGEG) confirmed that the contract with the company that submitted the concession application (PANNN - Consultores de Geosciences) was signed on October 28 of 2021.

"The concessionaire can only start exploration after obtaining a favourable Environmental Impact Statement (DIA), in accordance with the Mining Plan and the Environmental Impact Study approved, under the terms of the law and the contract”.

A situation that the GPSA regrets, still pointing the finger at the Government for the decision: “Mining exploration in Argemela is more important for our government than the health, life and the heritage of the people who live there”, reads in the communicated.

The process for the mining concession of an exploration in Serra da Argemela started in 2011, and in the beginning of 2017, the request for concession attribution by the company PANNN - Consultores de Geosciences Lda. was published, which was renewed in 2020.

The request seeks the exploration of lithium and other minerals, covering an area of ​​403.7 hectares, very close to the parishes, a situation that has been strongly contested by the population and by the GPSA, as well as by the municipalities of Fundão and Covilhã and by different party politicians.

Environmental issues, public health and the loss of heritage value have been some of the arguments raised against this open-air exploration.

In addition, in March 2018, the Assembly of the Republic also unanimously approved a recommendation to the Government to suspend the process until there was a "full assessment of the situation".

Subsequently, the company PANNN - Consultores de Geosciences Ltd. renewed the request for the concession of the exploration, a situation that also caused controversy because the announcement was made during a period in which lockdown was in force.