After a Declaration of Environmental Impact was announced at the end of May that was favourable towards the Barroso lithium mine, in Covas do Barroso, Boticas, a decision criticized by the municipality, the mayor told Lusa that it’s now preparing opposition to the Romano mine, in the neighbouring council of Montalegre.

“It’s all a mess, everything together. We don’t have the hands to measure,” Fernando Queiroga stated.

The reformulation of the “Concession for Exploration of Lithium and Associated Mineral Deposits – Romano” project, by Lusorecursos, finds itself in public consultation since June 27th, which runs until July 24th.

The initial deadline was Monday, July 10th, but it was prolonged by 10 business days by the directive council president of the Portuguese Environmental Agency (APA).

According to the Participa platform, 22 participations in the public consultation have been submitted so far.

“I’m concerned because, in fact, the drawbacks also affect Boticas. One of the heaps is just on the limit of the municipality and I’m worried with both the Beça River, which is practically destroyed, and Águas de Carvalhelhos,” the mayor explained.

The Beça River feeds the trout population in the Nature and Biodiversity Park and, according to the council president, the mine could “put into question two water springs,” affecting the company.

“This is a topic which worries us a lot,” Fernando Queiroga reiterated.

The change to the Environmental Impact Study of the “Concession of Exploration of Lithium and Associated Mineral Deposits – Romano” reviews the locations of the mining annexes complex (CAM), which includes the refinery, cleaner, administrative buildings, as well as environmental minimisation and compensation measures for the Iberian wolf population.

At the beginning of the start, Lusorecursos said it was notified about a “favourable motion” on the project and foresees a mixed exploration, open-sky and underground, specifying that the CAM location was shot down due to the presence of a wolf pack.

Relative to the Boticas mining project, by the Savannah company, the APA announced on May 31st that it decided to allow the exploration of lithium in the Barroso mine, emitting a favourable Declaration of Environmental Impact, but with a “wide collection of conditions.”

According to the APA, the Barroso mine will obey “demanding environmental requirements” and will also include “a socioeconomic compensation packet, such as the allocation of royalty fees to the Boticas municipality and, among other local benefits, the construction of a new access road that avoids upset in the population.”

These are the lithium exploration projects that are in the most advanced phase, but Fernando Queiroga said there’s already new prospecting, research and exploration requests, like one “that could come to cover Boticas, Ribeira de Pena and all the way to Vila Pouca de Aguiar and Chaves,” which is also generating concerns.