United Arab Emirates’ mining bid for Alentejo “against populations’ interests”

Among the hundreds of applications under consideration for mining across the country – many already under fierce local opposition – one coming from Exchange Minerals of the United Arab Emirates has seen Évora town council combine forces with environmental association Quercus to highlight the “enormous” negative impacts any kind of exploration would involve.

Exchange Minerals is bidding to mine 410 sq kms in the boroughs of Évora, Montemor-o-Novo and Vendas Novas.

The minerals the company would be targeting are predominantly gold, silver, copper and zinc.

Environmentalists and civic associations have been sending out alerts over the government’s perceived zeal to sell the ground under populations’ feet, warning the strategy needs people to come together “as there are simply too many licences now to fight each one-by-one”.

Quercus stresses that if this particular project gets the green-light it will almost certainly lead to open-pit mining that would compromise ‘social and economic order’ by destroying tourism, various traditional agricultural practices, and forestry exploration.