Environmental NGO Quercus is urging the newly-inaugurated Portuguese government to rethink its strategy for lithium exploration in order to avoid an environmental disaster.
With the whole lithium debate high in the public eye – particularly over allegations of insider ‘dirty dealing’ – Quercus has stressed the importance of listening to “legitimate concerns” of populations, councils and environmental associations.
“If NGOs, mayors, councillors and people are against, I believe the government will reconsider”, Quercus’ Paulo do Carmo told Lusa.
“This is not about just digging our heels in for the sake of it. We’re hoping the decision of the secretary of state regarding around 10 new areas of lithium exploration will protect the lives of Portuguese people, nature conservation and the value and biodiversity of the interior.
“We’re hoping his report does not translate into an environmental disaster for Portugal”.
But as the secretary of state concerned is João Galamba – the man highlighted in a recent TV exposé – environmentalists admit to being “concerned”, particularly as Galamba’s report will affect “thousands of hectares across several points of the country”.