The council was consulted by the Directorate-General of Energy and Geology about the intention to prospect expressed by an Australian company. We (council) granted a favorable opinion on the issues related to the Municipal Master Plan and the accessibility or not of some of the locations where prospecting is intended to take place.
The Mayor further stated that "all the requirements were taken care of, not only with regard to the PDM but also taking into account all the environmental constraints". "Now the decision will be up to the Ministry of Economy. It will depend on the concessions that the Portuguese State intends to make", he specified.
José Maria Costa said that the interest in lithium prospecting "in large part" of the county "motivated" the council of the capital of Alto Minho to submit a proposal for new investment by Tesla, the American manufacturer of batteries and electric vehicles. The availability expressed to the government last November follows Tesla's interest in building a new factory in the Iberian Peninsula.
We presented the many competitive advantages on offer; namely the good business environment, and the proximity to ports and airports, guaranteeing thus a quick entry of raw materials, but also the fact that we have the necessary raw material for the manufacture of lithium batteries that are essential for these activities", he reinforced.
In early December, the government announced the creation of a working group to identify lithium deposits in Portugal and also "evaluate the possibility of production" of this metal, with the conclusions of the work due to be delivered by the end of March 2017.
In a statement, the Secretary of State for Energy, Jorge Seguro Sanches, stated that it had approved an order to create a working group whose objective is to "identify and characterize the occurrences of lithium mineral deposits in Portugal" and access potential associated economic activities, as well as "evaluate the possibility of local lithium production.
This working group - whose conclusions "should be presented by March 31, 2017" - will be coordinated by the deputy director general of the Directorate General for Energy and Geology, Cristina Vieira Lourenço, and will include representatives of the National Laboratory for Energy and Geology, EDM - Mining Development Company, the National Association of Extractive and Manufacturing Industry and the Portuguese Association of Marble and Granite Industries.
Quoted in the note, the Secretary of State for Energy said that "the potential of national geological resources as a factor in economic development and with a growing strategic importance, determines the adoption of appropriate measures to enhance and promote the existing natural assets in Portugal.
Original source in Portuguese: Viana do Castelo dá luz verde a prospecção de lítio por empresa australiana