Mina do Barroso, Portugal
From Yes to life No to Mining global network ‘On the Frontlines of Lithium Extraction’
Spurred on by misleading claims about the Portuguese lithium reserves, the environmental and financial gains to be had, magnified by the promise of a value chain being built around it, the Portuguese government have bought into and heavily promoted mining, attracting the attention of mining companies all over the world.
Misguided and misinformed politicians looking for quick political, economic and environmental fixes, coupled with a permissive licensing system resulted in a surge of exploration and mining licenses being issued to mining companies with varying degrees of experiences and capabilities.
Furthermore, plans are afoot for an international lithium tender covering 8 Portuguese regions. Two of them are adjoining and centre around “Mina do Barroso” which together with another 8 licenses issued over the last few years are surrounded but excluded.
The proposed “Mina do Barroso” is located in the North of Portugal Barroso region which has been recognised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Site.
A number of lithium open pit mines are being planned in a large, green and water-rich area, threatening communities that have lived sustainably there for over 8 centuries.
Licenses were issued and altered without effective public consultation resulting in an unopposed extensive and very aggressive prospection phase, feeding speculation. The AIM-listed junior miner Savannah Resources, who owns the license, has made fantastic claims about the potential of the mine.
Shocked, outraged and concerned by the plans and the lack of government oversight and responsibility for licensing and monitoring, the community is determined to stop the mines at all cost.
Currently [as of September 2021] we are in the middle of a 30-day public consultation of an over 6,000-page Environmental Impact Assessment. Should the EIA be approved and the government plans go ahead, the whole GIAHS Barroso region is at risk, as are six other equally large and environmentally sensitive areas in the north and centre of Portugal.