Campaigners desperate to save Monchique from the threat of feldspar mining heard this week that a “nonsense” environmental impact study compiled at lightening speed has been rejected outright by none other than APA, Portugal’s agency for the environment.
The news came as resident ‘experts’ were compiling a damning dossier listing all the reasons why the report was an amateur attempt to “throw sand in people’s eyes”.
None of them expected APA ‘would get there first’ – though they are absolutely delighted that it did.
“I heard the news completely by chance”, campaign steering group chairman Ewen Hentell told the Resident this morning.
“I met Rui André in Monchique and he told me that APA has rejected the study for being insufficient and inadequate. The whole process must start again”.
The boon here is that the council and campaigners are now pooling resources and know-how to come up with the kind of response to mining bids that should blow them categorically out of the borough once and for all.
Hentell explained: “Rui said the council has employed an independent consultancy to conduct a hydrological impact study on the effect of a quarry in the areas under threat, and they are already of the opinion that water supplies would dry up”.
André has also ensured that the council hires specialist lawyers. As he told newspapers recently, he is prepared, if he has to, to stand in the way of the machines before he will let mining companies get their way.
The problem, nonetheless, is that the meeting André has requested with prime minister António Costa has still no date in sight – and the campaign group’s own challenge to the government, to say “hands off Monchique” has still failed to elicit any kind of official response.
Thus, focus remains on fighting plans in the pipeline every which way.
For more information on the group’s activities, see the Facebook page: Movimento contra a Extração Mineira em Monchique.