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Parliamentary questions
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11 March 2020
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 138
José Gusmão, Marisa Matias
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Lithium exploration in the Serra d'Arga

A call for tenders is due to be issued for the exploration of lithium in an area of ​​360 km 2 around the Serra d’Arga, from the river Minho to the river Lima. The mountains and rivers are classified as Sites of Community Importance (SCI), and the exploration work will take place in very close proximity to Natura 2000 Network areas. The demarcation of administrative boundaries for these areas will not prevent the proximity of the exploration work from having an irreversible impact on them. Experts are warning that lithium in this area is scarce, dispersed and difficult to extract, and that the sulphides contained in the rocks will release sulphuric acid into surface waters and disperse heavy metals in the soil. This will pose a threat to local population areas and agriculture and air and water quality, EU-funded viticulture and forestry and the habitat of more than 500 botanical species and 180 identified wild vertebrates, including the Iberian wolf. It is incomprehensible that EU aid should be used to deliver this area to predatory exploration work by private entities for a 30-year period.

In view of the above, will the Commission urge the Portuguese government to reassess the mining project, to move it away from protected areas and to give priority to measures to safeguard the health and lives of these population groups and the wealth of the area in terms of fauna, flora and water resources?

Original language of question: PT
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