The Minister of Environment and Climate Action said this Monday that the approvals of mining concession contracts on the eve of the dissolution of the parliament were administrative decisions, rejecting accusations of lack of transparency of the PSD.
“This is an administrative decision, not a political decision”, declared João Pedro Matos Fernandes in statements to the Lusa agency, expressing his willingness to go to the Assembly of the Republic to explain the process, as urgently requested today by the social parliamentary group -democrat.
“I’m available to go, as I always have been. If the PSD really wants to know about the contracts, who signed them and all the other questions, they don’t even have to wait for me: go to the DGEG website [Direção Geral de Energia e Geologia], where all this is public,” he declared.
At issue is the signing of 14 contracts (nine contracts and five addenda to contracts) for prospecting, research and exploration of mineral resources that took place on October 28, a day after the generality of the State Budget proposal for 2022 (OE2022) ), according to the “No to Minas Movement — Montalegre”.
The PSD argues that “on the eve of the dissolution of the Assembly of the Republic and the consequent reduction of its scrutiny capacity, with the country being medially focused on the political crisis, the Government may be rushing the approval of processes that are complex, controversial and that could lead to environmental and public health risks”.
Social Democrats warned that “there is a lack of transparency” in the process, adding that it was “conducted with opacity and arrogance”.
“I don’t know what the PSD means by that. For the PSD, an example of transparency was the concession of 80 percent of the Algarve for oil exploration on the eve of it leaving government. That is an example of transparency: fossil fuels, oil and the entire Algarve”, jokes the minister.
João Pedro Matos Fernandes indicated that in four of the licenses it was “administrative corrections to things that came from behind and are all on the DGEG website”.
“In other cases they are attributions of exploration licenses that come from old processes, they did not start with us. The new cases of research licenses are all in accordance with the new law, all had public consultation and all had a binding favorable opinion from the municipalities”, he added .
The Secretary of State for Energy also assured this Monday to Lusa that mining exploration will not proceed without completing the environmental impact assessment, which results in a favorable or conditioned favorable statement, rejecting accusations about recently signed contracts.
“The grant [para exploração mineira] it results from a previous survey and therefore those companies were entitled to that concession and now obviously have to move towards the environmental impact assessment processes, without which there can be no exploration”, said the assistant secretary of State for Energy, João Galamba, speaking to Lusa on the sidelines of the 9th Energy Forum, organized by the newspaper Água & Ambiente, in Lisbon.
On Saturday, the environmental association Quercus repudiated the signing of those contracts for the exploration of minerals, including the one for the Argemela mine, without having concluded the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes.
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Minister orders PSD to go online in connection with the controversial signing of 14 mining contracts in a single day