The Portuguese communities to lock horns with the lithium miners, in order to save the

LISBON (reuters) – The lush, green rolling hills, where is Paulo Pires the same year, and the price is too high to live up to his, a picturesque Portuguese village, may soon be transformed by a race of electric cars.

The protesters object to the lithium mines, in the centre of Lisbon, in Portugal, Of 21 September, 2019. The banner reads “No to the mine, Yes to life”. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

The signs of change are already giving him sleepless nights. Hundreds of holes can be drilled in the area where the miners would excavate it from the ground up for lithium, a key ingredient in the batteries that are in electric cars, cell phones, and storage of energy.

“My livelihood is being taken away from me, and I won’t have a future somewhere else,” said the 45-year-old Pires, of which the village is located in the municipal district of Boticas.

P., and its idyllic location are on the front lines of the battle, pitting companies are eager to operate in Portugal about 60,000 tons of known lithium reserves to the local population in the preservation of their rights to the land and to stop the operation.

It is set in the very small minority of the government in a tight spot in your home. Due to the increasing resistance to lithium exploration by community groups, which is common in the ownership and management of rural areas, which would mean that the miners reached an impasse, and seek the support of the government to expropriate land.

Lisbon’s actions will have an impact beyond the country’s borders. The reserves are modest in comparison with countries such as Australia and Chile, the leading lithium producers, in Portugal, in the heart of Europe in bid to cut reliance on lithium importation.

A tap on the European bank of the “white gold” has been an important part of the European Union, with the ambition to make more of the battery value chain, as it is an area of the car manufacturers with the roll-out of electric vehicles, a spokesman for the European Commission said.

Portugal, which has about 1,200 tonnes of lithium last year and currently sells almost exclusively in the ceramics industry, in place of the production of high-quality lithium needed for the batteries. It is already Europe’s largest lithium producer, but in Portugal, it remains a small player in comparison with countries such as Australia and Chile, with an output of 42,000 tons, and 18,000 tons, respectively.

In europe, with only 3% of the battery’s capacity to produce, does not have a lithium refinery, and is dependent on imported raw materials.

If the world is committed to the phase-out of fossil fuels, thousands of coal miners like Australia’s Fortescue have applied for almost 100 licenses to explore for lithium in Portugal).

IMAGE: the Lithium mining industry in Portugal – this is where


Some of the miners have been in the construction business. Great britain is an excellent solution for the Resources which is licensed for P. s Boticas region, and Portugal is Lusorecursos have a valid license for the area of Montalegre. The two areas of the Barroso region, as a world agricultural heritage site.

The two companies are now awaiting approval from the environment agency to go ahead with their plans, which would include refining of the lithium to increase the quality of the product.

An international call for tender, that will determine who represents the rights of the rest of Portugal, and lithium-rich territory within the nine regions, with an investment of only five of these are estimated to have a value of 3.3 billion euros ($3.6 billion), the government said.

However, anti-lithium, sentiment is gaining ground. At least five councils have passed motions against the exploration for, and the grassroots groups have signed on to be a national manifesto against the government’s mining strategy.

“These companies are coming up with millions and millions (of euros). So, what can we do with our money? All We can do is try to get them to stop,” Pires said.

In an attempt to defuse concerns, the government is preparing a new mining law to tighten the rules for future licenses, and to discuss the design with all the local authorities in the course of the month of February.

The companies and the government, saying the mining would bring money and employment to the region’s struggling to cope with the ageing of the population and low investment costs.

“If we are to extract the lithium in Portugal, there is one thing we can be sure of: the highest of environmental standards to be observed to be the most responsible of the social practice to be observed, and that it is also a question of security of energy supply,” the Minister of Economy, Pedro Siza Vieira, told Reuters.


“With Lithium, it is of crucial importance for the future of the green economy,” he said. “It’s better than the record of other countries in which we are not so sure the same standards are to be complied with.”

Much of the land is expected to contain the lithium in Portugal, including in the areas in which Lusorecursos, and Savannah, have the exploration rights, it is classified as common land known as “baldios”, in Portuguese.

Local associations shall have the right to decide how it will be used, such as for hunting or agriculture. Many of the associations have passed motions against the exploration, in order to avoid that in the rural areas, and the disruption of the centuries-old way of life.

“One of our mountains will just disappear. It will have to be cut in half. The impact is brutal,” said Fernando Queiroga, to the mayor, city of Boticas, is one of the municipalities that do have back movements compared to the lithium mining industry.

Such moves have no legal weight. However, if developers cannot secure agreement in the talks with the local associations, and private landowners, and the business of the government to grant the right to expropriate land in the public interest.

“When the question arises, is the government’s decision, under the terms and conditions of the applicable laws,” a Department of Environment spokesman said of the matter.

However, the backup of expropriations would be more difficult for the Socialists, who are a council with a majority of the votes cast. The companies say this could lead to protracted legal challenges.

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Atlanta, told Reuters it was in talks with local players, and had forged a wide range of commercial agreements relating to access. Lusorecursos, he said he saw no reason to address the problems of the societies of the start of negotiations over land rights.

Activists have been winning the battle. Fortescue went out a bid for a license in the previous year, in the Alto Minho region, after local opposition. The government has removed the two prospective licence areas of concern for the environment and local government, and environmental groups .

In the meantime, 18 of activist groups have asked for greater public transparency in the drafting of the new mining law. “I’m willing to go to get to the end of the world”, said a local activist Maria of the Carmo Mendes.

Additional reporting by Sergio Goncalves and Ingrid Melander; Editing by Ingrid Melander and Edmund Blair

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