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Lusa - Business News - Portugal: Boticas lithium mine would be a 'catastrophe' for area - mayor




Boticas, Vila Real, April.19,(Lusa)– The Mayor of Boticas on Monday called the lithium exploration planned for the municipality "a catastrophe" and stressed that this mine goes against the World Agricultural Heritage, a distinction won three years ago.
Savannah, the company that wants to explore lithium in Covas do Barroso, municipality of Boticas, announced on Friday that the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) considered the Environmental Impact Study (EIA) for the Barroso mine compliant and that the project will now go forward for public consultation.
Fernando Queiroga, mayor of Boticas told Lusa news agency that the mining project "represents a catastrophe" for the county and considered that it also goes against the World Agricultural Heritage, a classification awarded to Barroso on April 19, 2018 by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
"I don't know if it is compatible or not, that will be for the FAO to say, but the municipality of Boticas will do everything in its power, to the last consequences, to the last instances, so that this project does not go ahead," he stressed.
Regarding the World Agricultural Heritage assigned to Barroso, which includes the municipalities of Boticas and Montalegre, Fernando Queiroga stressed that "these were three years of excellent promotion of this region".
"It was a stamp that gave a lot of work to these two municipalities, to the Development Association of the Alto Tâmega Region (ADRAT) and to the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD) and we are very happy with this stamp of distinction, unique in the country. For nothing in this world do we want to lose this stamp", he stressed.
The municipality has worked in recent years to promote tourism, the World Heritage Site and its natural heritage and all of this, according to the mayor, "is incompatible with the mine".
In his opinion, the mining project "could destroy this municipality, its heritage, take away wealth and destroy the quality of life of those who continue to live" in this territory.
"And don't tell me that it's only in one corner of the municipality so it doesn't affect the rest, because it does. In terms of environment and dust, for example, it will destroy a vast area that is not only limited to the parish of Covas do Barroso", he stressed.
For the mayor, the jobs that will eventually be created with the mine "will be temporary and will leave a trail of destruction".
"This is something that cannot be done to the Interior, which is already so depopulated and will become even more depopulated", he stressed.
The mayor also said he was surprised with the announcement of the conformity of the EIA, because, he added, "one of the last details requested by APA implied that the company would have to carry out field studies".
"Well, they are prohibited from entering the field, so how did they do the studies?" he questioned.
In his opinion, the "company is looking solely and exclusively at its own interests". "I asked why the exploration wasn't underground and was immediately told that it wasn't done because it wasn't profitable for the company. This shows that they are only concerned with profitability," he stressed.
The project planned for the Boticas municipality is also being contested by the local population, which has set up the United in Defence of Covas do Barroso Association (UDCB) to fight the mine, and which has already regretted that the APA has declared the EIA to be in conformity, saying it is "eagerly" awaiting its public consultation.
Savannah Lithium is a mining exploration company that, since 2017, has been developing studies for a project to explore for lithiniferous feldspar and subsequent production of spodumena concentrate at the Barroso mine, whose concession has existed since 2006.
Barroso was the first Portuguese region to join the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) and one of the first to be approved in Europe.
This is an agricultural region dominated by livestock production and by the typical crops of mountainous regions, where traditional ways of working the land or treating animals are maintained.
PLI/AYLS // AYLS
Lusa


Agency : LUSA

Date : 2021-04-20 09:51:00







 

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