ZERO wants rules as lithium prospectors eye up 616,000 hectares

Environmental group ZERO is calling time on the 616,000 hectares being eyed up by lithium prospectors.

Of this massive area of land, 86,000 hectares are in so-called protected areas: Rede Natura 200/ REN or RAN (environmental and ecological reserves).

It’s time, says ZERO; that we had some rules in this ‘race to mine lithium’ making the process ‘more transparent’ for everyday citizens who seek to defend their communities.

As far as the 86,000 hectares of ‘protected areas’ goes, the answers always should be an immediate ‘no’, ZERO’s president Francisco Ferreira told Rádio Renascença.

“We don’t understand how it is even possible for (companies) to proceed with these requests, placing them in Diário da República (the government newspaper), advising populations, allowing for decisions to be made when in many protected areas even the territorial plan says this kind of exploration is not to be allowed”.

Over the last 16 months, ZERO says it has become aware of 26 prospection requests covering an area of over 616,000 hectares.

The bids have been lodged with the DGEG (general directorate for energy and geology). Nineteen of them specifically refers to lithium.

ECO online has picked up on mounting opposition within civic groups to this kind of mining, citing the recent news that Australians Fortescue have felt it necessary to pull out of a bid in the Alto Minho (click here).

Says ECO, two of the most advanced projects in the country’s gathering lithium ‘race’
have suddenly come up against increasing local mistrust, to the extent that an offer to compensate the area around Boticas with “many millions of euros and the creation of jobs” has failed to win favour.

The Boticas project is one of two lithium mining initiatives that are hoping for new permissions in heritage sites supposedly protected by UNESCO (click here)

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