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Portugal Grants Environmental Clearance For Savannah’s Lithium Mine, Paving The Way For Sustainable Resource Extraction

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Portugal Grants Environmental Clearance For Savannah's Lithium Mine, Paving The Way For Sustainable Resource Extraction
Portugal Grants Environmental Clearance For Savannah's Lithium Mine, Paving The Way For Sustainable Resource Extraction

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According to Reuter’s reports, authorities have given Portugal-based firm Savannah Resources the green light following its environmental impact assessment (EIA). 

This assessment was part of the company’s plans to develop the largest Lithium mines in Western Europe. In a swift response to the approval, Savannah Resources hailed the move as a major milestone for the project. 

Savannah Resources Receives Preliminary Approval From Portugal

Savannah Resources received preliminary approval from the Portuguese authorities for an EIA on its Barraso open-pit mine in 2021. The Portuguese regulatory body, Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente (APA), had 50 days to review the report before issuing feedback in a response known as a DIA. 

In an official statement, APA remarked that it had given Savannah a favorable DIA report. However, there were numerous measures that Savannah had to comply with.

Some of these measures were, limiting vegetation removal from a project area and not using water from a nearby river, among others. Also, the APA stated that the project must consider the areas where the mines will be situated and provide compensation packages like royalties.

After the DIA, Savannah Resources applied the changes mandated by the authority and resubmitted the EIA report earlier in 2023.

Portugal Mining Industry Outlook 

Portugal is the biggest lithium producer in Europe. However, its miners sell most of their lithium to the ceramics industry. Currently, they are shifting to higher-grade lithium for electric cars and electronics.

However, the lithium projects face strong opposition from environmentalists and local communities. They demand better regulation and transparency in the mining process. 

Barroso is a notable world heritage site for agriculture and one of the lithium-rich landscapes in northern Portugal. Savannah currently mines feldspar, quartz, and pegmatites in the mountain region but hopes to expand to Lithium mining in Barroso.  

This positive DIA will enable the company to move to the next stage, which involves publishing a new scoping study and a social impact assessment report. 

Savannah hopes the remaining steps to obtain environmental licensing will conclude in nine to twelve months to enable it to receive the final Environmental license in 2024.

Lithium And Crypto Mining 

Lithium mining is essential to different sectors, including the crypto sector. Lithium is a vital component in a crypto-mining setup. Crypto mining is a delicate process that demands a constant power supply. 

It is possible to mine crypto such as Bitcoin with a regular computer, but the time it takes makes it unattractive.

Moreover, the Bitcoin network requires better computational processes and complexity to grow, making it necessary to use more computational power. 

Miners need dedicated hardware and many computers powered by rechargeable batteries to increase their mining effort. 

Lithium-ion batteries are a reliable backup for crypto miners as an alternative power source during an outage. This ensures that the mining process runs smoothly around the clock. 

Also, rising electricity costs imply miners must rely on an alternative or secondary power source. Lithium-ion batteries are reliable and strong enough to power the mining processes. 

Therefore, the deal between Savannah Resources and the Portuguese authorities is highly beneficial for crypto mining in Europe and other countries.

Savannah Resources Commitments 

Savannah Resources reaffirmed its commitment to upholding ethical practices that minimize environmental impact and distribute socio-economic benefits. Also, the company agreed to fulfill the conditions attached to the positive DIA. 

These conditions include the approval to construct a proposed road linking to Highway 24 (A24) and limiting vegetation removal from the project area in certain months. They also stated that other conditions, such as filing and landscape recovery of the ore extraction sites, are in the company’s roadmap.

According to Savannah’s CEO, Dale Ferguson, APA’s favorable decision marks the start of a new phase for the Barroso lithium project for Savannah and Portugal.

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