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Lusa - Business News - Portugal: Boticas lithium mine environmental impact study 'not understandable' - mayor

Boticas, Vila Real, May 13,2021 (Lusa) – The mayor of Boticas said on Thursday that the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) of the Barroso Mine "devalues" people, is " not understandable", has "untruths" and said he has asked for the extension of the deadline for public consultation.
Fernando Queiroga told Lusa news agency that the deadline for public consultation of the Barroso Mine EIA, which runs from 22 April to 2 June, "is insufficient" to "debunk" the documentation and therefore requested an extension from the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA).
"Within 30 working days it is humanly impossible to analyse 7,000 pages," he stressed, also noting that there is documentation "that only now" will become available.
The Barroso Mine is located in an area in the parishes of Dornelas and Covas do Barroso and the project is being promoted by the company Savannah Lithium, Lda, which plans to explore for lithium and other minerals in the open pit.
"We are not against lithium, we are against this type of mining, which will cause brutal devastation in the municipality, and this cannot be possible," he stressed.
Fernando Queiroga criticised the EIA, considering that "it is not understandable", "has many untruths, inaccuracies" and "devalues" the people who live in the affected area.
"This confusion, little clarity, this lack of transparency in the EIA is what concerns us," he said.
As part of the EIA process currently underway, APA promoted a clarification session on Wednesday, which took place online and brought together about 130 participants and the consultant responsible for the EIA, and on 19, a second session will take place in Boticas, for institutional guests.
The mayor said he had asked several questions during the session but regretted that "almost none were answered".
Fernando Queiroga pointed out "absurd things" to the study as "to propose, for the reduction of dust and particles that are harmful to public health, raised by the passage of trucks, someone walking behind with a hose to water so as not to make dust".
"It is to belittle this population," he stressed.
As for the "untruths" he lists the issue of water "in huge quantities" that is needed for washing. "They say they don't need the water that exists underground, it's all water from Saint Peter from the rain (...) But in the summer months there is little rain and then the mine closes?" he questioned.
In his opinion, "there is still a lack of information" on the impacts on Ribeira de Pena, a municipality located downstream from the mine.
The United in Defence of Covas do Barroso Association (UDCB) pointed out a number of questions "that were not answered", such as the "compatibility of the Barroso Mine with the declaration of World Agricultural Heritage in force in the municipality of Boticas".
The association said that the "consultant did not answer questions about the methodology for assessing impacts on air quality", was "unable to answer several questions about carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the project" and also "questions regarding the collection of data on the Iberian wolf were not answered".
According to the UDCB, there was a lack of clarification "on how and when the data used in the EIA was collected since there has been no authorisation to access most of the land in the concession area for two years".
The Savannah project's main focus is the production of spodumena concentrate, for subsequent feeding of lithium processing mineral establishments, with feldspar and quartz as by-products to feed the ceramic and glass industry.
It is planned to set up an industrial establishment (washing plant) to treat the mineralisation, and operation will take place over a 12-year period and will require between 201 and 243 workers. According to the company, the project proposes benefit sharing and a 'Good Neighbourhood' plan, with the allocation of 500,000 euros per year for projects in the community.
Fernando Queiroga said that, at the moment, direct aid to agriculture in the two affected parishes amounts to 1.5 million euros, support that will be lost with Mina do Barroso.

Agency : LUSA

Date : 2021-05-14 10:13:00


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