Lithium ‘Gold Mine’ Buried Under Portuguese Heritage Farming System

"The hilly Barroso region of northern Portugal has been recognized for its centuries-old and “globally important” farming system that combines agricultural biodiversity, resilient ecosystems and a valuable cultural heritage.

But the region is also home to what’s believed to be one of Europe’s largest deposits of lithium, an element that will be critical in the ongoing clean energy transition, with EU and Portuguese officials saying mining projects in Barroso will be key to securing domestic supplies of the metal.

Residents and environmental activists, however, warn the mines will scar the landscape, contaminate the water, erode the soil, disrupt local livelihoods, and deprive them of communal lands.

Yet even as they continue to oppose the planned mines, the state can declare lithium projects to be of strategic public interest to force residents to lease the lands needed for the mining projects."

Marta Vidal reports for Mongabay on December 11, 2023.

Source: Mongabay, 12/12/2023