British mining company “optimising
an overview of the area where open pit mining for lithium and other minerals is planned

British mining company “optimising” northern lithium project “to reduce environmental impact”

Savannah Resources has been pushing for green-light for over four years

UK listed Savannah Resources has said today that it is “optimising” the lithium exploration project in Boticas (Vila Real district) to address concerns raised by Portuguese Environment Agency APA (to the first environmental impact assessment lodged), and reduce overall environmental impact to the region.

The company which has been pushing for the mining green light for over four years, said last summer that it had been notified by APA to reformulate the project, before the necessary Environmental Impact Declaration (DIA) could be issued.

Local feeling against lithium exploration meantime has been running high.

In a statement today, Savannah says it remains on “track” to submit a new Environmental Impact Assessment during the 1st quarter of 2023.

The company suggests that, in collaboration with its team of engineers and environmental consultants, both local and international, it has developed “an updated project ‘layout’ and mine plan” that it believes “addresses the concerns raised by APA and its assessment committee, while reducing the project’s overall environmental impact of the project”.

“The changes are not expected to have a negative impact on the volume or quality of anticipated spodumena production,” the statement stressed, referring to the amount of lithium it hopes to extract.

Work “is now largely focused on revisions to the EIA documents”, the statement continues, noting the company is “nearing completion of a series of virtual and face-to-face meetings with APA and other member groups of APA’s EIA assessment committee, which were initiated in July.

“We have continued to work closely with APA to find agreeable solutions to the concerns they raised about the original Savannah EIA. The APA team has been very helpful and constructive during this process, and we thank them for the positive attitude adopted to address these concerns as we seek to optimise the project and reduce its environmental impact on the region,” Savannah Resources chief executive officer (CEO) Dale Ferguson said in the statement.

Following the presentation of the updated EIA, expected in March, APA will have a maximum of 50 working days to carry out its analysis and issue its DIA decision.

The Barroso mine is located in an area within the parishes of Dornelas and Covas do Barroso and is likely to be used to exploit other open-pit minerals as well as lithium

The planned concession area is 593 hectares, says Lusa today.

The mining operation is contested locally, adds the news agency, referring to the concerns about water consumption highlighted last summer.

Lusa adds that the association “Unidos em Defesa de Covas do Barroso”(United in Defence of Covas do Barroso) has also alerted to the consequences of the mine with regard to its proximity to the village, the fact that it will be open-cast (open to the air and clearly visible) and involve the creation of “slag heaps”.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com