It’s a Go for Portugal’s Savannah Lithium Mine


Portugal may just find itself Europe’s center for lithium mining as its government formally approved the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for mining firm Savannah Resources’ open-pit lithium mine in the Covas do Barroso region. Representatives for the mining firm, which is currently based in the United Kingdom, announced the government’s approval on Wednesday, May 31st, referring to it as a key milestone for the initiative.

Savannah first received approval for its Barroso EIA from the AgĂȘncia Portuguesa do Ambiente (APA), Portugal’s environmental regulatory authority, back in 2021. However, the company was asked to make certain changes and could only resubmit the request earlier this year. It took the APA 50 working days to review the revised EIA but eventually released a decision in favor of the Savannah initiative.

Savannah Resources has likewise signified its agreement with the stipulations given by the APA regarding the mine.

A Boon for Portugal

The Savannah mine in Barroso is expected to eventually become the heart of the European lithium value chain. This is because Portugal is the largest lithium-producing country in the continent, and Barroso itself – apart from being a UNESCO world heritage site for agriculture – is famed for its substantial lithium deposits.

Savannah has been operating within the region for some time now, but mostly mining feldspar, pegmatites, and quartz in the surrounding mountains.

But this initiative is not without its challenges. Much of the lithium produced in Portugal has been exclusively sold to the ceramics industry. Likewise, local mines have just begun to bring in the necessary technologies to transform raw materials into battery-grade lithium.

The Savannah mine and similar projects have also needed to go up against both environmental groups and local communities that have demanded harsher regulation of the mining sector along with more transparency on the part of the government regarding such endeavors.