News today (Thursday) is that Monchique’s struggle to repel mining companies circling Picota hillside has finally won some impressive clout.
According to Correio da Manhã, “in response to questions put by PSD and CDS MPs”, the “government has guaranteed that a decision on the exploration of feldspar mineral deposits will always take the council’s opinion into account”.
On the face of it, the development sounds promising – but it no way settles the issue that sees resident, the borough council, municipal assembly and environmentalists united in local determination to save Picota’s southern hillsides from the ravages of excavation.
It has also to be viewed against the backdrop of ‘electioneering’, already underway in the run-up to October’s municipal elections.
Certainly mayor Rui André is hedging his bets.
He told CM that as far as he was concerned he “had no knowledge of this situation”.
He also stressed that in the past the council’s opinion appears to have stood for very little.
“We have had to take part in public consultation processes just as any other private person would have to”, he told the paper.
Meantime, pressure against the latest mining bids – so far both from companies that have been pushing for exploration licences for years – continues.
Citizen’s group Movimento Contra a Extração Mineiro em Monchique is in constant touch with the council whose total opposition to mining on the borough’s southern slopes was reiterated earlier this week, citing negative environmental impact on a sensitive area and the risks that mining would have on strategies for the rural borough’s economic development.