Five ‘deep holes’ see drilling for gold and copper advance in Eastern Algarve

In a week when so many citizens have been focused on the arrival of the Pope, yet another major environmental incident has been announced.

Aside from the government’s continued sanctioning of gas and oil concessions throughout the country, the re-marketing for development of one of the Algarve’s last coastal bastions of greenbelt, there is news that Australian company Auroch Minerals is going ahead with five “deep” drilling operations in the usually tranquil borough of Alcoutim in the Eastern Algarve.

The sites, in parishes alongside the Ribeira da Foupana waterway and the area known as Palmeira, are within a 576 sq km concession area that sanctions the prospection of gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead, tungsten, tin and antimony.

The concession was awarded to Bolt Resources in 2014. Auroch Minerals has since purchased 65% of Bolt in a deal that saw €1.1 million invested and could see Auroch up its stake by another 10% for almost as many euros again.

As to the depth of Auroch’s deep holes, these were not reported by tabloid Correio da Manhã which today quotes Alcoutim’s mayor Osvaldo Gonçalves welcoming the project as “an interesting asset”, as long as “environmental questions” are “respected”.

One has to go back to stories about Auroch’s takeover to find the detail. The holes, said Dinheiro Vivo last month, will go to depths of between 3 km (or 3000 metres) to 5.6 km (5600 metres).

CM adds that “aside from this project”, public consultation is still open on a bid by Turkish mining company Ozdogu for research into precious metals in Alcoutim and Loulé, as well as elsewhere in the lower Alentejo (click here).

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PHOTO: Alcoutim’s Ribeira da Foupana