Iberian environmental associations have been promoting a train journey this weekend to protest against a uranium mine being set up in Retortillo, near the Portuguese border.
This protest is jointly organised by the Stop Uranium Platform, based in Salamanca (Spain), and by the Portuguese associations QUERCUS and AZU (Environment Association in Uraniferous Zones).
“The Iberian march will happen along the train line that runs through the Douro Valley, from Pocinho to Porto, and with a stop at Régua,” the source said.
According to the promoters of the Iberian march, the protest comes 20 years after the Aznalcóllar disaster (Spain), caused by mining rserves that contaminated a river and the ground.
“It is important to remember that the development of open-pit uranium mining projects across the border can represent a tremendous risk to the life of the Douro River and its inhabitants,” said the environmentalists involved in this action.
According to experts, Portugal will also be affected by the radioactive dust and radon gas that will be emitted by the uranium mines that Berkeley Minera plans to open in Retortillo, Salamanca.
The Portuguese Environment Agency has said that the uranium mining project in Retortillo is “susceptible to having significant environmental effects in Portugal,” due to its proximity to the border and taking “into account the direction of the winds” from the East and Northeast.
“On 16 March, a debate took place in the Assembly of the Republic on the Retortillo mine, where all parliamentary groups were unanimous in demanding firmness on the part of the Portuguese Government in defending the territory and its populations, in the face of the threat to Portugal, and especially over the entire Douro area,” the Iberian environmental platform noted.
The joint organisation of this Iberian march intends to bring to the public’s attention the problems and dangers for Portugal of installing a uranium mine and a concentrate factory in Campo Charro de Salamanca.
The three Iberian environmental associations involved in the organisation of the march argue that the process of installing the Retortillo uranium mine must be suspended immediately and that a cross-border environmental impact assessment must be carried out, in line with current legislation.
The Spanish environmental organisation “Stop Uranium Platform” had already welcomed the Portuguese Parliament urging the Lisbon government to pressure Madrid to halt uranium exploration in Spain until the Portuguese population has been consulted.