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Parliamentary questions
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18 April 2019
Question for written answer E-002132-19
to the Commission
Rule 130
José Inácio Faria (PPE)

 Subject:  Licensing of open-air lithium mining in the Natura 2000 network
 Answer in writing 

The Portuguese Government intends to grant licences for works involving boring for, exploring and researching various mineral deposits, such as lithium, in an area adjacent to the Peneda-Gerês National Park(1). This area is protected by several internationally recognised legal safeguards, in particular the Natura 2000 network, the National Ecological Reserve and Unesco’s Gerês/Xurés Cross-Border Biosphere Reserve, which restrict the takeover, use and conversion of the land to uses and activities that are compatible with their objectives.

The call for tenders relating to the granting of licences will be based on outdated legislation from 1990(2) which does not take account of the latest environmental requirements, including those contained in European legislation. Thus far, priority has not been given to the new regulation(3) which, among other things, lays down the conditions for more rigorously promoting the environmental value of exploiting geological resources in new calls for tender relating to the granting of licences.

Is the Commission aware of the Estratégia Nacional do Lítio (national lithium strategy) and does it agree that it should have been subject to a Strategic Environmental Assessment, in accordance with Directive 2001/42/EC, given its probable significant effects on the environment?

Does the Commission consider mining in an open-cast pit to be dangerous given the risk of contamination of the waterways which run through the area?

(1)Pursuant to Notice No 4722/2019, published in the Diário da República No 56/2019 (Series II, 2019-03-20).
(2)Decree-Law No 88/90 of 16 March.
(3)Law No 54/2015 of 22 June.

Original language of question: PT 
Last updated: 6 May 2019Legal notice