Savannah Makes Progress to Develop Western Europe’s Largest Lithium Mine in Portugal

Savannah Resources said it has made progress towards building the Western Europe’s largest lithium mine in Portugal after fulfilling the additional requests by regulators for the evaluation of its environmental impact assessment (EIA). The company filed the original assessment for its flagship Barroso lithium mine in May 2020. The Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) then asked Savannah to provide additional information a few months later, and granted it a preliminary stamp of approval in April 2021.

However, APA’s public consultation on the project has been met with strong local opposition, which prompted the regulator  to ask the company to go through an additional, optional step in the EIA process.

The optional step is designed to allow adjustments to the project in accordance with the feedback of the stakeholders involved in the process, Savannah has said.

Savannah said it has conducted useful and productive discussion with the regulator since agreeing in early July that the review process should continue under Article 16 of the Portuguese law relating to EIAs.

The company also said the meetings would continue to address the few remaining aspects of the project, which APA and the entities that make up its evaluation committee would like to see revised.

“Over the course of the last two months APA has made clear the aspects of the project which we need to revise to give us the greatest chance of receiving a positive Declaration of Environmental Impact (DIA) decision,” Savannah CEO Ferguson said.

The process has a mid-March 2023 deadline, when Savannah is required to resubmit its assessment for consideration.

Subject to a positive DIA decision, Mina do Barroso open pit lithium mine would become Europe’s first significant producer of spodumene, a hard-rock form of the battery metal.

The project holds an estimated 27 million tonnes of lithium, which the company believes to be enough to supply a “material proportion” of Europe’s lithium demand over the following decades.

Although being Europe’s top lithium producer and accounting for about 11% of the global market, Portugal’s output is entirely used by ceramics and glassware industries. That causes Europe to rely on lithium imports from Latin America, Australia and China.

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