Portugal demands meeting with Spain over uranium mine
Portugal has demanded a meeting with Spain over Spain’s plan to open a uranium mine near the Portuguese border, the Portuguese government confirmed on Wednesday.
“Portugal will do everything it can to obtain the relevant information and, from there, ensure safety and zero impact on our side,” said Joao Matos Fernandes, Portugal’s environment minister.
Matos Fernandes’ comments were made in an address to the parliamentary commission for environment, land planning, decentralization, local power and housing, according to the Lusa Portuguese News Agency.
The commission quizzed Matos Fernandes on what measures the government was taking to ensure the mine would not pollute Portugal’s rivers, soil or air.
The minister said “we have performed all due diligence alongside Spain,” but said the way the project was being organized “has created a problem.”
Portugal has made repeated requests for information from Spain, which Matos Fernades said had been either ignored or answered inadequately.
A meeting has been called for “because due protocol has not been fulfilled satisfactorily by our counterpart.”
Spain first carried out an environmental impact study for a mining project in Retortillo, just 40 km from the Portuguese border, in 2013.
The subject of the mine has been repeatedly raised through diplomatic channels in the intervening years, with Spain maintaining that no project has yet been licensed.
However, Berkley, the Australian mining company developing the project, announced on its website that plant construction commenced in July 2017.
The project is being fiercely opposed by environmental campaigners in Spain who are concerned about the damage nuclear debris may have on the local environment and population.
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