Northern communities “shocked and outraged” by the speed with which the government acts on lithium since the elections


Beira Serra’s anti-mining movement has reacted “in shock and outrage” at the form in which the government has implemented its plans to cut off large parts of the lithium mining campaign.

Two days after the results of the municipal elections, it was enough for the preliminary environmental assessment of the government’s project to enter into public consultation.

“The choice of the moment, just after the knowledge of the electoral results, reveals the dissimulation in this whole process, from the dissimulation of the stake during the electoral campaign to the hypothesis of an unlimited authorization which justifies everything with the results obtained” , Renata Almeida, spokesperson for Movimento ContraMineração Beira Serra, told Lusa.

The DGEG (General Directorate of Energy and Geology) on Tuesday opened the public consultation process for eight regions of the country.

Residents – and the general public – now have until November 10 to make their feelings known.

Among the 10,000 hectares affected by what is an international ‘tender’ for the allocation of exploration rights are parts of the municipalities of Caminha, Vila Nova de Cerveira, Viana do Castelo and Ponte de Lima – all in horse on the magnificent Serra d’Arga.

Just under half of the area (4,280 hectares) is classified as a “Site of Community Importance”, while the Serra itself is classified as a protected landscape area of ​​regional interest.

This is why communities are fighting so hard against mining projects.

As Renata Almeida points out, since the formation of the SOS Serra d’Arga movement, the five municipalities of the district of Viana do Castelo have given the green light to prospecting and exploration plans – not only for lithium, but for other minerals.

The movement “does not expect” municipalities to change their minds.

“The movement will obviously participate in this public consultation process and calls on all the municipal authorities of Arga – municipal and parish councils – to do the same. Recently, 30 parish councils and communal land commissions which could be directly concerned by this project signed our manifesto, in which the rejection of mines was categorically affirmed ”.

Explain the reports, the civic movement is committed to “the defense of the population and the territory” insofar as it will not allow the sinking of a single prospecting well.

Opponents claim that there has been “a total lack of transparency and willingness to involve the local population by the government and relevant entities” and defend that “protected and classified areas essential to health, well-being and the sustainability of people must be preserved and promoted, ”said the text message sent to Lusa.

These struggles are invariably Daniel versus Goliath. But in the Herculean campaign against oil and gas drilling in the Algarve a few years ago, Daniel (meaning the common people) won (click here).

In this campaign, the communities of the regions of Serra d’Arga, Montalegre, Boticas and Barroso have essentially come together, believing in the strength of numbers.

They also have a powerful ally in the form of PSD MP Emília Cerqueira who explained to parliament this week that she too believes the government is “trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the people”, and push these plans through. which, she says, “destroy extraordinary heritage landscapes,” not to mention people’s livelihoods and lifestyles.

Next Saturday (October 9), the movements convened a public meeting in Coimbra to “reflect on the paradoxes of the current decarbonization; the struggles of the populations in the sacrificed areas and the energy, political and economic alternatives to the official discourse ”.

As the text of the meeting explains, “the European Union is trying to gut entire territories, destroying biodiversity and people’s lifestyles in the name of the fight against climate change. Will environmental destruction really fight climate change? Or does this “energy transition” policy correspond to the perpetuation of the same destructive patterns that created the socio-ecological crisis?

For more information on this meeting, see the Movimento Não As Minas – Montalegre Facebook page.

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