Portugal: Have Your Say on Lithium Mining by December 10
Updated: Nov 24, 2021
(Photo by Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg)
A few years from now, frolicking in the snow of the Serra da Estrela (mountains) could become a memory. The delectable taste of the spoon-soft Serra sheep cheese could become a memory. And the austere beauty of the granite boulders above and the lakes, villages and the city of Seia below could become a memory.
How could that national treasure be lost? Lithium mining. Eight areas in Portugal, including a place in the Serra da Estrela, are being considered for the mining of the light metal used in batteries for phones, laptops and electric cars. The anticipated increased demand for electric cars has propelled lithium into the category of “white gold” as mining companies compete for extraction contracts around the world.
A total of 28.5 percent of the 3,047.4 square kilometers (304,740 square hectares), or (1,893.6 square miles, 752.9 square acres) of the proposed land in North and Central Portugal, including the Serra da Estrela location, is protected in the National System of Classified Areas for the conservation of nature and biodiversity, according to the preliminary environment assessment report, Lithium Prospecting and Research Program for the Launch of the Tender Procedure for Assignment of Prospecting Rights and Lithium Research, which was prepared by the Instituto de Ambiento e Desenvolvimento (Institute of the Environment and Development) at the University of Aveiro.
Protesters oppose lithium mining in protected and unprotected areas.
I live in Central Portugal in the municipality of Oliveira do Hospital, which has dropped off the list of prospective mining areas. Previously, the field next door to a friend’s home in Seixo da Beira was designated on the map. No more.
Environment Minister Joao Pedro Matos Fernandes said: Europe “has 9 percent of the raw materials considered critical for its development” and that with the known crisis in raw materials “it is really bad for Europe, and Portugal, if it does not exploit its raw materials,” according to O Jornal Economico (November 14).
In an interview with Jornal de Noticias (November 14), the Environment Minister said that lithium exploration is “an inevitable path”, according to O Jornal Economico. He said that he cannot “understand why the word ‘lithium’ has become a bad word” in Portugal. In fact, he said that “lithium is essential for carbonization and digitalization.
“There are more than 30 explorations of feldspar in Portugal that are absolutely peaceful, without any environmental problems. I’ll give a sweet to anyone (a Portuguese expression) who shows the difference between feldspar exploration and lithium exploration.”
A headline in the Portugal Resident (March 2, 2017) read Feldspar mining rears its ugly head (again) in Monchique. The story said that the town’s mayor said that he would put himself in the path of diggers if the plan went ahead.
“The problem for Monchique, as with other borough councils faced with mining issues, is that their opinions and those of their citizens appear to stand for nothing.”
Feldspar is usually a byproduct of lithium mining.
What Is the Preliminary Report
The lithium preliminary environmental assessment placed itself in an historical context accepting lithium as key to the transition to cleaner energy:
“In the case of this Environmental Assessment, as in many others, it is fundamental to understand the decision-making context and the specific moment of this decision-making process. The Lithium Prospecting Project places itself downstream of previous strategic decisions (for example, the Paris Agreement and the consequent legislative framework associated with the mitigation of climate change) which justify the imperative of carbon neutrality and the electrification of the production chain and of transport. It is this framework that explains why lithium has become a valuable geological resource. These past decisions are not in question now and need not be reassessed.
“It is assumed here that any mine, and pursuant to the provisions of DL (Law Decree) n 152-B of December 11, provided with an area equal to or greater than 15 ha or with capacity extraction equal to or greater than 200,000 t/year, or, in the case of an open-pit mine, if together with other similar units, within a radius of 1km, exceed the aforementioned values, will be subject to an environmental impact assessment. The favorable or unfavorable decision of the approval of these projects will result from the Impact Assessment process.
“Thus, the environmental impacts of mining explorations and the identification of potential incompatibilities . . . do not fit in this Environmental Assessment which, as already underscored, focuses only on Prospecting and Research activities.”
The report was released in September.
The General Directorate of Energy and Geology (DGEG) extended the public consultation period, initially scheduled until November 10, to December 10, after protests by political parties, local authorities and civic movements, according to SIC Noticias (October 23).
For public participation, register here.
What Is the Legal Procedure
“Mines are not worth it” to compromise “a unique heritage”, said Vitor Paulo Pereira, the president of the municipality of Paredes de Coura, at a demonstration of 1,000, five of whom were municipality presidents, at Viana do Castelo against the mining of nearly 25,000 hectares in the protected landscape area of regional interest, according to SIC Noticias (October 23).
“The value we have in Serra de Arga is much higher than that which could come from mining,” said Vitor Paulo Pereira. “Environmental preservation is an incalculable value in the future. Anyone who has a landscape, balance, biodiversity has an inestimable heritage that will be worth much more than many mines.”
Much of the lithium-rich land, including the areas where the companies, Lusorecursos Portugal and Savannah Resources, have exploration rights, is classified as common land, known as baldios in Portuguese, according to Reuters (February 14, 2020).
Local associations have the right to decide how it is used, such as for hunting or farming. Many associations have passed motions against exploration to avoid damaging the countryside and disrupting age-old ways of life, reported the news agency.
Such motions have no legal weight. Also, municipalities can and have passed resolutions citing opposition to lithium mining. If mining firms cannot secure agreements in talks with local associations and private landowners, the companies will need the government to grant them rights to expropriate land in the public interest.
“When and if the question arises, the government will make the decision under the terms of the applicable law,” an Environment Ministry spokesperson told Reuters.
Five years ago, the prospect of lithium mining knocked at the door of central and northern Portugal. In that year, the government received 30 new prospecting and research requests for the metal, reported Jornal de Noticias (November 12, 2019).
Who Are the Mining Firms
Savannah Resources, Lusorecursos Portugal Lithium, and the Australian Fortescue Metals Group are three of the companies vying for lithium mining contracts in Portugal. Fortescue had applied for nearly 100 licenses as of February 2020, reported Reuters. Mining companies often have tangled relationships with each other. For example, Portugal Fortescue is a subsidiary. And Savannah Resources is in Mozambique working with another company:
“Savannah Resources has been operating in Mozambique since 2013 and entered a Consortium Agreement with (the Anglo-Australian multinational) Rio Tinto in October 2016 to jointly define a potential dry mining heavy mineral sands operation,” according to the company’s website, “For a strategically located world-class ilmenite rich deposit.”
Ilmenite is the most important ore of titanium, which can be alloyed with other elements to produce strong, lightweight alloys for aerospace among other uses.
Throughout its almost 150-year-history, Rio Tinto, has faced accusations of corruption, environmental degradation and human rights abuses, according to The Guardian (November 19). It is currently fighting a United States Securities and Exchange Commission civil lawsuit that accuses the company of fraud in its Mozambique coal-mining operations.
Today, Rio Tinto, the world’s second-largest mining company is in Serbia investing in what it says will be Europe’s biggest lithium mine. In recent months, thousands of protesters say “they are witnessing an unfolding disaster in the country’s ‘breadbasket’, responsible for around a fifth of agricultural production,” reported The Guardian.
David Archer, the CEO of Savannah Resources, said on the company’s website:
“As the owner of the Mina do Barroso lithium project, the most significant spodumene (hard rock) lithium project in the EU, Savannah is committed to becoming an integral part of Europe’s burgeoning lithium battery supply chain and putting Portugal at the heart of this new European industry.”
(In a December 13, 2018 report: “Savannah is undertaking discussions with a range of potential offtake partners for the lithium concentrate, and the quartz and feldspar co-products.
(Savannah Resources “has successfully produced high-quality salable quartz and feldspar co-products” from its lithium mining in Portugal, according to its website. “Importantly, having multiple product streams means we are maximizing the value-adding potential of the project while also reducing the volume of non-saleable material that will need to be emplaced on-site in contoured and vegetated landforms. . . . This is a very positive outcome and is part of Savannah’s ongoing commitment to design a project which minimizes any potential environmental impacts.”)
“Lithium is never found in its elemental form in nature due to its reactivity, but occurs in over 100 different mineral compounds, which pose no threat to health. The USGS (United States Geological Survey)estimated global reserves of lithium at 14 million tons in 2018. However, deposits, which are economically viable to exploit are relatively rare and fall into two broad categories – hard rock and brine.
“Within the hard rock category, spodumene, as found at Savannah’s Mina do Barroso project in Portugal, has been by far the most common lithium-bearing mineral . . . Spodumene is typically found in pegmatites, which are igneous rocks. . .. Spodumene is non-toxic and non-reactive.”
How Lithium Carbonate Is Extracted
The Savannah website does not detail the process of extraction. In Nevada, at a controversial proposed mine, Lithium Americas would convert molten sulfur into sulfuric acid, which would be used to leech the lithium from the raw ore, according to Inside Climate News (November 7).
Workers are preparing to start blasting and digging out a giant pit that would serve as the first large-scale lithium mine in the United States in more than a decade, according to The New York Times (May 6).
While producing 66,000 tons a year of lithium carbonate, the mine may cause groundwater contamination with such metals as antinomy and arsenic, according to federal documents.
The lithium would be extracted by mixing clay dug out from the mountainside with as much as 5,800 tons per day of sulfuric acid. The entire process also would create 354 million cubic yards of mining waste that would be loaded with discharge from the sulfuric acid treatment, and it may contain modestly, radioactive uranium, disclosed permit documents, reported The New York Times.
Each day, the operation would burn hundreds of tons of sulfur trucked in by an estimated 75 tractor-trailers. Residents are concerned about accidental spills and accidents, according to Inside Climate News.
“Spills of molten sulfur in places like Florida and Washington state have seeped into the ground and permeated the air, while sulfuric acid and sulfur dioxide worsen asthma and contribute to particulate matter linked to heart and lung disease.”
Dr. Alexander More, a professor of environmental health at Long Island University in New York, told Inside Climate News:
“The sulfur compounds could degrade water quality both underground and in the air. As the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) pointed out, the list of expected toxic water pollutants is clearly no one’s favorite recipe. These are all major components of acid rain. In a drought region, the groundwater risks being polluted by toxic metals, while whatever little rain the area may receive will be polluted by acid emissions, which will impact farming and drinking water, not to mention the wildlife and plants. And the projected greenhouse gas emissions are no joke either.”
The estimated 46-year Nevada mine, constructed on leased federal land, could help end the near total reliance by the United States on foreign sources of lithium, said The New York Times.
(Ironically, Lithium Americas’ largest shareholder is the Chinese firm, Ganfeng Lithium, which is the world’s top lithium company. Ganfeng signed a contract to supply battery-grade lithium products to Tesla, the U.S. electric vehicle maker, for three years starting from 2022, according to Reuters (November 1). Ganfeng already has supplied lithium to Tesla.)
Currently, the majority of the world’s lithium is mined in Australia and South America, and more than 97 percent of it is refined in China, reported Inside Climate News.
The Nevada project, has drawn protests, prayer runs and lawsuits from the Paiute-Shosone tribes, ranchers and environmental groups because it is expected to use billions of gallons of groundwater, potentially contaminating it for 300 years, while leaving behind a giant mound of waste, reported The New York Times.
“The fight over the Nevada mine is emblematic of a fundamental tension surfacing around the world: Electric cars and renewable energy may not be as green as they appear,” reported The Times. “Production of raw materials like lithium, cobalt and nickel that are essential to these technologies are often ruinous to land, water, wildlife and people.
“The environmental toll has often been overlooked in part because there is a race underway among the United States, China, Europe and other major powers. Echoing past contests and wars over gold and oil, governments are fighting for supremacy over minerals that could help countries achieve economic and technological dominance for decades to come.”
In China in May 2016, hundreds of protesters threw dead fish onto the streets of Tagong, a town on the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau, according to Wired (August 5, 2018):
“They had plucked them from the waters of the Liqi River, where a toxic chemical leak from the Ganzizhou Rongda lithium mine had wreaked havoc with the local ecosystem. . . . Some eyewitnesses reported seeing cow and yak carcasses floating downstream, dead from drinking contaminated water. It was the third such incident in the space of seven years in an area that has seen a sharp rise in mining activity, including operations run by BYD, the world’s biggest supplier of lithium-ion batteries for smartphones and electric cars. After the second incident in 2013, officials closed the mine, but when it reopened in April 2016, the fish started dying again.”
In South America, scarcity of water is the biggest problem with lithium extraction. The Lithium Triangle, which includes parts of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile, holds more than half of the world’s supply of the metal beneath its salt flats, one of the driest places on earth.
“To extract lithium, miners start by drilling a hole in the salt flats and pumping salty, mineral-rich brine to the surface,” according to Wired. “Then they leave it to evaporate for months at a time, first creating a mixture of manganese, potassium, borax and lithium salts, which is then filtered and placed into another evaporation pool, and so on. After between 12 and 18 months, the mixture has been filtered enough that lithium carbonate – white gold – can be extracted.
“It’s a relatively cheap and effective process, but it uses a lot of water – approximately 500,000 gallons per ton of lithium. In Chile’s Salar de Atacama, mining activities consumed 65 percent of the region’s water. That is having a big impact on local farmers – who grow quinoa and herd llamas – in an area where some communities already have to get water driven in from elsewhere.”
According to Inside Climate News:
“Some energy transition critics see these as harbingers of a new wave of green-energy driven ecocide—wanton, widespread destruction of the environment. Legal scholars and environmental activists are currently campaigning for the International Criminal court in The Hague to take up ecocide as the fifth crime it would prosecute, alongside genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression.”
The dead fish incident in China was an accident in a country known for its weak industrial safety standards. The South American water situation was a direct result of the extraction process. What would happen in Portugal? Economy Minister Pedro Siza Vieira told Reuters (February 14, 2020):
“When we extract lithium in Portugal, there’s one thing we are certain of: the highest environmental standards will be observed, the most responsible social practices will be observed, and there is also a matter of security of supply.”
The European Battery Alliance (EBA) was launched in October 2017. The annual market value is estimated at €250 billion from 2025 onwards, according to Savannah Resources. The industrial development program of the EBA, the EB250, is managed by EIT InnoEnergy, a subsidiary of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), which is another body of the European Union. EBA250 brings together 250 entities from mining to recycling “with the common objective to build a strong and competitive European battery industry”.
“Savannah is making strong progress in engaging with the European Union’s Lithium Value Chain Initiatives, such as the European Battery Alliance, including its industrial development program EBA250, and EIT RawMaterials to position Mina do Barroso within the wider European lithium industry,” said David Archer, CEO of Savannah Resources.
According to William Adams, head of research at Metal Bulletin, to Wired, the current spike in demand for lithium can be traced back to 2015, when the Chinese government announced a huge push toward electric vehicles in its 13th Five-Year-Plan.
It is a frenzied time.
“Just in the first three months of 2021, U.S. lithium miners like those in Nevada raised nearly $3.5 billion from Wall Street – seven times the amount raised in the prior 36 months, according to data assembled by Bloomberg.”
Savannah Resources is listed on the Alternative Investment Market in the London Stock Exchange’s international market for smaller firms, reported Mining.com (May 13). It acquired a 75 percent interest in the Portuguese lithium project in May 2017. It calculated that nearly 200,000 tons per annum of spodumene concentrate can be extracted from the Mina do Barrosa for about 15 years, according to Euronews (April 24).
“Savannah Resources, one of the very few companies already operating in the European nation, highlighted in a presentation last year that its Mina do Barroso project would contribute to enough battery packs to prevent the emission of 100 million tons of carbon dioxide,” according to Mining.com. “Savannah has maintained a fast-paced development approach as part of its plan to become Europe’s most significant producer of spodumene lithium.”
“Portugal, which produced about 1,200 tons of lithium last year, currently sells almost exclusively to the ceramics industry rather than producing high-grade lithium needed for car batteries,” reported Reuters (February 14, 2020). “It is already Europe’s largest lithium producer, but Portugal remains a small player compared to Australia and Chile, with output of 42,000 tons and 18,000 tons, respectively.”
Mining.com reported that Portugal accounts for about 11 percent of the global market:
“The country hopes to soon change that and become a significant supplier of lithium in Europe. A study by the Portuguese University of Minho, conducted for Savannah Resources, found that the nation’s 60,000 tons of known lithium reserves (0.4% of world’s reserves) are ‘insufficient to meet the demand for lithium derivatives for the production of batteries in Europe,’ Euronews (April 24) reported.”
According to Reuters (February 14, 2020): “Europe, with just 3 percent of global battery production capacity, has no lithium refineries and relies on imported raw materials.”
Benefits for Portugal
What would increased lithium mining bring to Portugal?
David Archer of Savannah estimated that the company would contribute €1.2 billion to Portugal’s gross domestic product (GDP). The country’s GDP in 2020 was U.S.$ 231.23 billion (€204.96 billion), according to the World Bank. GDP is equal to the total expenditures for all final goods and services produced within the country. Portugal’s largest sector was Services at €7562.7 (in euro million). Agriculture accounted for €1014.8 (in euro million).
CEO Archer also said that Savannah would invest €6 million to build a bypass road, reported Euronews (April 24).
Lusorecursos said that it would create 500 jobs, according to Portugal News (November 22, 2019).
“There’s also a political angle to be considered. When Bolivia started to exploit its lithium supplies from about 2010, it was argued that its huge mineral wealth could give the impoverished country the economic and political heft that the oil-rich nations of the Middle East,” reported Wired.
“They don’t want to pay a new OPEC,” says Lisbeth Dahlof, of the IVL Swedish Environmental Institute, who co-authored a report in 2017 and in 2019 on the environmental footprint of electric car battery production.
One country is pursuing the nationalization of lithium: Mexico.
“President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is attempting to transform the country’s overpriced energy industry by nationalizing lithium – a move essential to kicking out private mining and developing a robust and affordable public energy sector,” according to Jacobin (October 19).
However, officials said that lithium concessions already granted to private companies would be respected, reported Fronteras (October 4).
Nationalization of oil was a gradual process of transfer of ownership from seven companies based in Europe and the United States to oil-rich nations.
“Clean Energy Isn’t Clean”
Whoever owns lithium mines, extraction is dirty to a lesser or greater extent, depending on compliance with safety measures.
“I think it won’t bring anything good,” Paulo Pires, a shepherd of Covas do Barrosa in Boticas municipality, in Euronews (April 24). “It will consume a lot of water, which we need for sheep and for the fields. Instead of hearing birds, I will hear explosions, machines. . . . There will be a lot of pollution.
“I’m not against lithium. But I’m not in favor of polluting my village and other villages like mine in order to depollute cities.”
The flawed assumption behind the “clean energy transition”, argue opponents, is that it can maintain levels of consumption. However, these levels are inherently unsustainable, according to Inside Climate News.
“We want people to understand that ‘clean energy’ is not clean, “said Max Wilbert, an organizer against the proposed Nevada mine and part of an encampment there. “We’re here because our allegiance is to the land. It’s not to cars. It’s not to high-energy, modern lifestyle. It’s to this place.
“It is easy to say the sacrifice is justifiable if you do not live here.” Wilbert rejects claims that such trade-offs are necessary for the greater good.
“Electric cars simply cause a different sort of harm: instead of the Gulf Oil spill, we have the bulldozing of an increasingly rare desert habitat. To save the planet, we have to stop destroying. A wound is a wound is a wound.”
Aida Fernandes of Covas do Barrosa said in Euronews: “This is an attempt by the automobile industry to reinvent itself. It’s a business, and we are paying for it.”
Chris Berry, an independent energy analyst, who is on the board of Lithium Americas, told Inside Climate News:
“I look at this as the paradox of green growth. “There is no free lunch. To do this, I half-jokingly say that everyone is going to be unhappy. We have to get over the NIMBY (the American expression “Not in My Backyard”) mindset.”
Or there is the possibility of waiting and working to find challenging and responsible solutions that require changes in lifestyle.
The first commercial lithium-ion battery was released in 1991. The 2019 Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded for the development of lithium-ion batteries, which are lighter, safer and longer-lasting than lead-acid batteries. Lithium batteries are a vast improvement, but they can be used as a crutch to avoid making difficult decisions about energy use.
Lack of Trust
At the moment, there is no trust of the mining companies by those against lithium mining in Portugal and elsewhere. Because of a lack of communication, unanswered questions get answered with rumors and suspicion. Negative feelings often begin at the start of the process with an initial legal notice of intention of prospecting, of which communities are unaware. Sometimes, firms’ underhandedness triggers anger.
A few years ago, Rio Tinto officials began to visit the Jadar Valley area in Serbia. The officials, who were Serbian, said the mine would only be 20 hectares, and “we would never even know it was here,” said Marijana Petkovic, 47, a teacher, who lives in one of the nine most affected villages, according to The Guardian (November 19). The officials were invited for coffee, lunch, saint days’ fetes and other local events. Over time, the mining area increased to 80 hectares. Today, the actual mine will cover 200 hectares.
Through the years, Rio Tinto made hefty donations to local causes: a village school received funds for classroom renovations; the football team’s clubhouse got a new roof; farmers were offered vouchers for expensive agricultural equipment, and there was cash for the Christmas bazaar, among the 107 donations made since 2003, of a total value of £451,034 (€537,250), reported The Guardian.
Then, in September, there were zoning changes from agricultural to building land.
“The mine will involve the relocation of 81 households, voluntary or otherwise, and the purchase of fields of 293 landowners. A brochure circulated among those affected stated that expropriation of homes and land would be a ‘last resort’.”
“The company has already bought up about 80 percent of the land and property for what are said to be ‘unheard of’ sums, according to Petkovic, amounting to hundreds of thousands of euros in some cases, based on payouts of €470 per square meter of a property. Rio Tinto is offering 5 percent bonuses to those who complete within four months of an offer.
“About 30 homes have been bought in Petkovic’s village. Knowing their properties are destined to be destroyed, the owners rip out windows, doors and even roofs, leaving desolate scenes for those who have resisted Rio Tinto’s money or are yet to be offered anything.”
In Portugal, the preliminary environmental assessment examined six factors: geological characterization; water; biodiversity; population; heritage, and governance. With regard to water, it said:
“In terms of water and hydrogeological resources, several occurrences of resources were identified: water sources such as public supply holes, spring-type water points, geothermal, with no defined protection perimeter, and therefore, this criterion was not considered as a condition for mineral prospecting.
“The vast majority of activities carried out in mineral prospecting and research do not impact the water and hydrogeological resources at a local and regional scale, or if they exist, represent a very low risk to the environment and society.”
With regard to biodiversity, the report said:
“The assessment carried out with the available information identifies for the set of eight areas of prospecting and researching the existence of 116 species of conservation interest, of which 40 species are birds. Prospecting and research activities . . . may have adverse effects on habitats and species of interest.
"These activities will involve the circulation and use of machinery and the presence of people in places that are usually inaccessible. Opening access to prospecting sites, blasting and clearing the surface of the soil for the construction of wells or trenches will constitute factors of disturbance of the most sensitive and may interfere with natural habitats and species of conservation interest.”
With regard to heritage, the report said:
“Integrated in the various proposed areas were found 1,105 heritage occurrences, either of archeological or architectural nature, of which 80% have an average heritage value and 17% a high heritage value. . . . This valuation reveals the sensitivity of the areas under analysis.
"The lithium project will have direct effects on the preservation of the heritage. Therefore, it is the duty of the program to implement safeguard measures. The implementation of the program may represent new opportunities for knowledge.”
According to the preliminary environmental assessment report, the eight areas under consideration are as follows:
1. Arga – District Viana de Castelo – Municipalities (Concelhos) Camina, Vila Nova de Cerveira, Viana de Castelo, Ponte de Lima, Parades de Coura (247.7 square kilometers);
2. Seixoso-Vieiros – Districts Braga, Porto, Vila Real – Municipalities Fafe, Celorico de Basto, Guimaraes, Felgueiras, Amarante, Mondim de Basto (243.7 square kilomters);
3. Massueime – District Guarda – Almeida, Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo, Pinhel, Trancoso, Meda (499.7 square kilometers);
4. Guarda, Mangualde (C) – Districts Castelo Branco, Guarda – Municipalities Belmonte, Covilha, Fundao, Guarda (421.5 square kilomters);
5. Guarda, Mangualde (E) – District Guarda – Municipalities Almeida, Belmonte, Guarda, Sabugal (497 square kilomters);
6. Guarda, Mangualde (W) – Districts Guarda, Viseu – Municipalities Mangualde, Gouveia, Seia, Penalva do Castelo, Fornos de Algodres, Celorico de Beira (376.6 square kilometers);
7. Guarda, Mangualde (NW) – Districts Viseu, Coimbra – Municipalities Viseu, Satao, Penalva de Castelo, Mangualde, Seia, Nelas (444.9 square kilomters);
8. Segura – District Castelo Branco – Municipalities Castelo Branco, Idanho-a-Nova (311.3 square kilomters).
Participate by December 10
For public participation in lithium mining until December 10, register here. You can voice your opinion, follow the issue and receive updates, and/or share the information. The preliminary assessment summary and reports are also available on the page.
Many local groups and an umbrella group, Movimento ContraMineraçao Beira Serra,
have collected signatures on petitions against lithium mining in towns and villages.
“Following the public consultation, the weighting of the contributions obtained will be carried and reflected in the final version of the AA (Avaliaçao Ambiental) (Environmental Assessment),” said the preliminary assessment report.