“Minerals are an essential part of modern life, as the global demand for minerals such as lithium has clearly shown. There is no road to carbon neutrality without clean, digital technology and there is no clean, digital technology without raw materials”, according to João Pedro Matos Fernandes, Portuguese Minister for the Environment and Climate Action, speaking at the opening of the High-Level Conference on Green Mining, which was held today under the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Bearing in mind the increase in world population and the levels of emissions arising from the production and consumption of goods and services, the Minister emphasised the need to rethink how we extract, produce and consume. On this subject, he recalled that “mining activities should adopt a sustainable approach to planning and execution, focusing on four key factors: environmental stability, appropriate soil use, economic value and social responsibility”.
Regarding the agenda for the conference, with participants including government representatives, European institutions and industry leaders, João Pedro Matos Fernandes highlighted the relevance of the discussion on the integration of these four key factors into the design and development of projects in the mining industry.
“More work must be done to align the interests of the economy and industry in general with the interests of the local communities. We must not forget that these industrial complexes, despite creating a significant number of jobs, have earned a negative social perception”, the Minister said, emphasising that “sustainable mining must combat these sentiments through getting the local people involved and showing them the mutual benefits these projects can bring”.
On the national reality, the Minister pointed to “the law recently approved in Portugal, which imposes the use of the best practices available at all stages of the mining process, including an increase in public participation by local communities and environmental associations. We are fully committed to building an industrial cluster of raw materials, made up of competitive, professional and highly qualified companies that look at sustainable practices as one of their main concerns”.