Mining industry warns of impact of legislative changes on investors

  • Lusa
  • 19 November 2021

Sector associations believe that despite "some weaknesses" that are recognised in this regulation, "the constant threats and possible regulatory changes to the activity, cause enormous instability".

Associations of the mineral resources industry Assimagra, the extractive and manufacturing industry ANIET and geologists APG warned Friday of the “enormous instability” among investors caused by the constant threat of legislative changes to mining.

The position taken by the three associations representing the mining industry in Portugal comes after the parliamentary review of the regulation of the so-called mining law, in force since early May, despite being contested by environmentalists and the “reticent opinions” of municipalities and autonomous regions, noted by the President of Portugal in his promulgation of the law.

Sector associations believe that despite “some weaknesses” that are recognised in this regulation, “the constant threats and possible regulatory changes to the activity, cause enormous instability among investors.

In the statement, the three associations said that the procedures for granting private rights for prospecting and research, experimental exploration or exploration concessions were only awaiting publication of the regulations to resume negotiations, most of which they said had been open for over two years.

According to the associations, the vast majority relate to processes started before 2019, which were suspended until the publication of the regulations, “with their drafts already having been negotiated since that time” and that “different types of mineral resource disclosure and exploitation rights were signed, and not all for lithium”.

Finally, they state that it is with “some amazement” that the associations note that the disclosure and exploitation of raw materials is only discussed at relevant political moments, such as elections.

In the parliamentary review of the regulation of the mining law, on Thursday, most parties considered that the Government disregarded the concerns of the population with the approval of more mining concession contracts and that the legislation is ambiguous and facilitates mining in any location.

In response, the Environment Minister acknowledged that mines “clearly” have environmental impacts, but assured that in Portugal, mining “will be the most rigorous from an environmental point of view” and guaranteed that “there will never be any mine that does not have a prior environmental impact assessment”.

“The regulation of the mining law is really aimed at defending environmental conditions, community involvement, sharing and encouraging the creation of value contracts as much as possible,” he said.

In terms of coordination with local populations, Matos Fernandes said that mining is done in a way that “shares as much as possible of the wealth generated and created” with those who live near the areas where the mines will exist.