Thousands joined last weekend’s protest in Retortillo, near Salamanca, against the open-pit uranium mine due to open next year (click here).
While environment minister João Pedro Matos Fernandes has announced a meeting with his Spanish counterpart to discuss Portugal’s concerns, Diário de Notícias reports that the mine will be using water from a small river which runs into the Douro.
Local authorities, both Spanish and Portuguese, are convinced the project will be “the death” of their citizens’ way of life, the paper affirms.
In fact, that message was the gist of chants last weekend: “No a la mina, si a la vida” (No to the mine, yes to life) as people carried a holm oak along the streets, with the effigy of a bird, to highlight the 30,000 trees of that species due to be felled if the Australian project gets the final go-ahead.
This is in a sense Spain’s equivalent of Portugal’s anti-oil fight: local authorities and people all against for reasons of safety, health, ecology and sustainability, the government (for reasons no one appears able to fathom) still backing exploration.
Portugal’s oldest environmental group Quercus was at the forefront of last Saturday’s demo, explaining it is vital that Portugal adopts “a firmer attitude” to the threat posed by the mine that scheduled for land just 40 kms from the border.