António Costa Silva rejects any possibility of deep-sea mining in Portugal's seas. Image: Lusa

Minister of Economy & Sea rejects deep sea mining “completely”

After all the suspense and concerns, it’s a firm “no”

After all the concerns and faux-pas, Portugal’s minister of the economy and the sea has finally come out and said it: there will be no deep-sea mining in Portugal’s seas.

“Deep sea mining is not a question we can ask today because it is completely out of the question in the coming decades”, António Costa Silva stated. “We don’t know very well how the sea works. We know 5% of the sea. We need to know the dynamics of the oceans first”.

The minister was in the Azores, having had a meeting with the regional government to discuss, among other things, the creation of an Atlantic University in the archipelago, “to attract international researchers”.

The idea for the university was one of his, in drafting the “Strategic Vision for Portugal’s economic and social recovery plan 2020-2030″, which is the base of Portugal’s Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR), buoyed up by European funding.

“The university of the Atlantic is to attract, above all, large international corporations, researchers and universities. Attracting the best there is in scientific knowledge to enhance all research in the Atlantic area,” he told reporters.

The university will be associated with the University of the Azores (where former Minister of the Sea Ricardo Serrão Santos is a lecturer) and other national and international institutions to “investigate the oceans”, the “interaction with the atmosphere” and “position the thinking to combat climate change”.

“We already have great scientific institutions in the Azores”, he explained. “The Azores are a world reference in the area of volcanology and oceanographic research. It would be to enhance this whole ‘cluster’.

Describing the Azores a “geological laboratory“, the former oil and gas CEO stressed the importance of science and research to “build a different future”.

“(The University of the Atlantic) would boost development and research that is absolutely vital today. Without understanding the oceans we will not have a healthy planet in the future. Because the future health of the planet depends on the health of the ocean…”

José Manuel Bolieiro, leader of the Azores regional government, went further – mentioning the intention to build a space port on Santa Maria island to create conditions to “know space from the land”.

He spoke of the work developed by the Air Centre, on Terceira island, that enables us “to better know the Earth from Space”, and by the Okeanos Institute, within the University of the Azores, that is dedicated to the study of the sea.

Mr Bolieiro also stressed the region intends to create a research centre on the island of Faial – Tecnopolo – Martec – and acquire a new scientific vessel, with recourse to PRR funding.

Source: LUSA