Socialist mayor speaks out against government plan to green-light mining in protected areas

Socialist Mayor Miguel Alves has condemned the government’s proposal to ‘green light’ mining in protected areas as the “greatest sin” in its new draft-law to regulate the sector.

Talking to Lusa, he said: “the possibility of prospecting for lithium or any other mineral in classified or protected areas contradicts all the work that councils, the Portuguese State and Europe has done to protect the environment and biodiversity”.

His borough of Caminha, in the north, has therefore ‘rejected’ the draft-law, saying the government will have to come up with better wording.

“Up till now we have mobilised the population to create sanctuaries. If the current proposal is successful, if for any reason it’s not possible to protect these sanctuaries, then ‘bad luck’, the mines will win. This does not make sense”, he stressed.

Giving his party however the benefit of some praise, he said his council “recognises that the government proposal is much better than current legislation that allowed other executives to destroy territories and mortgage people’s lives”, but it’s still not good enough, particularly in the way it ‘rides over the role and opinion of local authorities’.

The borough of Caminha is one of the “most interested” in emerging mining legislation as it straddles the ‘emblematic Serra d’Arga’ – in clear and present danger of imminent lithium exploration.

On Caminha’s ‘side’ in this are four other boroughs, equally keen to retain not only the quality of life of their populations but the trademark of the area that has been classified as a Site of Community Importance, as defined by the European Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). It goes without saying that environmental NGOs are already right behind him (click here).

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com