The Mayor of Viana do Castelo, José Maria Costa, said this Thursday that everything will be done to prevent the exploitation of lithium in the Serra d’Arga, stressing that this is an environmental “pearl” that cannot be wasted with mining operations.
At the executive’s meeting, in response to a PSD question, José Maria Costa (PS) added that the municipalities of Viana, Caminha, Ponte de Lima and Cerveira are working on the process of classifying the Serra d’Arga as a Protected Landscape Area , in what could be a decisive triumph to curb lithium exploration.
“We will do everything to prevent the exploitation of lithium. Serra d’Arga is a pearl that we cannot waste with mining operations ”, underlined the mayor.
José Maria Costa stressed the intention of the region to transform that mountain range into an “environmental sanctuary”, making it profitable through a bet on nature tourism. For this reason, and with the help of a technical team hired for this purpose, the four municipalities are preparing the process to advance the application for classification as a Protected Landscape Area.
José Maria Costa also said that the municipalities have information that the quality of lithium and the raw material that exists in Serra d’Arga “is not relevant”. “All the more reason for us to have another type of use, in the environmental area and in the valorization of a sustainable tourist resource”, he said.
Last week, in Porto, the Secretary of State for Energy told Lusa that the law that regulates environmental rules for lithium prospecting is “ready” and “should be approved by the Council of Ministers soon”, with the public tender.
In July 2019, the Government decided to “excuse” the Natura 2000 Serra d’Arga website from the set of areas to be included in the competition for lithium prospecting, but the spokesman for the SOS Serra d’Arga movement, Carlos Seixas, assured in January that the intention of mining in that mountain range remains.
According to the State Budget proposal, the Government wants to create in 2020 a cluster of lithium and the battery industry and will launch a public tender for the allocation of prospecting rights for lithium and associated minerals in nine areas of the country. The Serra d’Arga, Barro / Alvão, Seixo / Vieira, Almendra, Barca Dalva / Canhão, Argemela, Guarda, Segura and Maçoeira areas must be covered.