Public consultation on gold prospecting in Alcoutim and Castro Marim ends tomorrow

Emisurmin Unipessoal wants to research whether there are minerals of high economic interest in the Northeast of the Algarve

A request for rights to prospect and research «mineral deposits of gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc and associated ores» in the municipalities of Alcoutim and Castro Marim is under Public Consultation until this Friday, April 29th.

The request was made by the company Emisurmin Unipessoal and the request in question refers to an area of ​​494 square kilometers, in the Parishes of Alcoutim and Pereiro, Martim Longo and Vaqueiros (Alcoutim) and Azinhal and Odeleite (Castro Marim).

Anyone can consult the parts of the process (initial application, map of the area's implementation, descriptive memory and opinions of the entities consulted) and give their contribution to the Participate Portal.

This request for the attribution of prospecting and exploration rights, called “Ferrarias”, is not, for the time being, a mining request, but it could open the door to mining exploration, if materials of «special interest to the national economy or regional".

The law even provides that the discovery of this type of geological resources with economic interest “may justify the adoption of precautionary measures, namely the suspension of the territorial management instruments of the area in question, which establish the restrictions and conditions to be observed until the elaboration of territorial management instruments applicable to the area in question'.

In this way, this request raises several questions, both at the level of the local economy, as well as environmental, heritage, cultural and social.



The Alcoutim Chamber, one of the entities that, by law, must be consulted in advance, states, in the technical opinion it issued, that "the prospecting polygon includes urban occupation zones, archaeological sites and other areas that are subject to interference in the human activity and cultural and natural wealth».

“Depending on the location of the intervention, this can harm the quality of life of local inhabitants, interfere with the potential tourist, social and landscape attraction of the territory, as well as interfere with possible agricultural, forestry and agroforestry spaces”, says the municipality.

Despite stating that he does not see “any inconvenience” in approving the request, “provided that all the territorial plans in force are observed, including all the specific conditions of the place of exploitation”.

Also other entities, such as the Portuguese Environment Agency and the Commission for Coordination and Regional Development, did not pose obstacles to the approval of the request, provided that the constraints indicated in their opinions are respected.

In its opinion, the APA emphasizes that «in defining the sites to be prospected, the sources of water associated with surface water resources must be protected, namely the catchment basin of the Odeleite reservoir».

The assessment of the request is in charge of the General Directorate of Energy and Geology.