MINING COULD begin in the Algarve boroughs of Castro Marim and Alcoutim and Alentejo borough of Mértola, if initial exploration reveals the presence of ores. The extraction activities would be managed by Sociedade Mineira de Neves Corvo (Somincor), the company responsible for the Neves Corvo mines in the Alentejo.
A public announcement was issued at the end of last year by the Direcção Geral de Geologia e Energia (DGGE), the general directorate of geology and energy, declaring that Somincor had applied for prospecting rights. The company is hoping to find mineral deposits associated with gold and silver, as well as reserves of copper, zinc and tin. The communication also invited those with objections to submit a formal complaint.
According to recent reports, the consultation phase has now ended and the request from Somincor was not met with any opposition. The next stage is for a contract to be signed between Somincor and the DGGE which represents the State. If this goes ahead, exploration will take place over an area of 568,000 square kilometres. The area, which encompasses the boroughs of Castro Marim, Alcoutim and Mértola, extends to the frontier with Spain.
Should the DGGE’s decision be favourable, Somincor will begin exploration in various points, to discover if it is viable to begin full scale mining activities. The President of Alcoutim Câmara, Francisco Amaral, believes the development could bring benefits to the area, particularly with regard to employment.