Environmental association Zero has stated that the environmental assessment of lithium “is insufficient” in analysing the impacts on natural values
The public consultation of the preliminary environmental assessment report of the Prospecting and Exploration Program (PPP) ends today in the eight potential lithium areas to be submitted to a public tender procedure for the attribution of prospecting and research rights.
On the “participa.pt” portal, 1,168 participants were submitted to this public consultation, which began on September 28th.
Zero participated in the procedure and welcomed the Government’s initiative, “in promoting a strategic environmental assessment that allows the identification and characterisation of territorial limitations for the possible exploitation of mineral resources, such as lithium, a resource that, in light of the transition climate, could play a relevant role at this time”.
However, Zero considered that “the environmental assessment should have gone further, namely in the connection between prospecting and research and subsequent exploration”, arguing that it would “require that, at the very least, a set of guidelines for the future be presented”.
In a statement Zero says, “exploitation requires the approval of an environmental impact assessment procedure and a mining plan, but conditioned favourable decisions are, incomprehensibly, a common practice of environmental authorities, who are always more concerned with reconciling and mitigating all impacts identified, than in safeguarding the public interest”.
“It is in this context of permissiveness that very general considerations are made about the implications for biodiversity, with the presentation of numbers regarding species with importance for conservation and the indication of overlapping of the polygons with the limits of the Natura 2000 Network”, they stressed.
Zero also said that the assessment “forgets a set of existing and important strategies in territorial terms, such as the 2027 tourism strategy, according to which there are ongoing investments that could conflict with this ‘national plan’ for mining exploration.”
The association demanded, in the event that the Government proceeds with an international tender for the attribution of prospecting and research rights, “specifications that safeguard the sustainability of the areas of intervention, limiting the existence of prospecting and research situations with unacceptable results, such as those that occurred in Covas do Barroso (Boticas) should be determined and met”.
For Zero, public policy “cannot and should not have a short-term vision based only on a wasteful aspect of geological resources”, but should be “closer to a vision of respect for sustainability and for the territory in the long term”.