A few weeks ago we went for an exploration on the mountain of Argemela, a place that has been strongly debated over the past few years. Besides its astonishing scenery, its endangered bat colonies and the regeneration of the area after the forest fires, the consideration for the extraction of lithium on 400 hectares of land have been placed forward by the mining company PANNN. The Serra da Argemela Preservation Group (GPSA) is directly against any exploration in the area and has since then organised several protest actions together with the Parish Councils of Barco, Silvares and Lavacolhos and the Municipal Councils of Covilhã and Fundão.
The mountain’s proximity to Ananda Valley makes this issue critically close in both time and space for the project. Thus, the volunteers of Ananda Valley were exploring Argemela by hiking in the area, with the possibility of asking questions to some co-walkers that are lobbying against the mine. Alongside, the weekly socio-political discussion circle in Casa Ananda organised by PRIP has now put its focus to research about the topic in order to find a way to action. Last week we were introduced to the topic by Cristiana Pinto, who told us the possible effects of mining on the ecosystem. She introduced us to the different sides of the topic and the possible impact on 10 villages close-by, the ancient and ancestral importance of the mountain, the endangered colonies of bats, and the longest river in Portugal, Zêzere. She states:
“‘It always is with enthusiasm that I hike up this mountain –
The Argemela mountain is part of this population’s history, and my family’s history.
My mother still recalls how she and her siblings would run uphill (10km+!) to fetch the juiciest fruits and explore the valleys for hidden entries to within. Many stories have and are still shared by the most elderly and passed onto the next generation. All with one commonality: the love with which this mountain is regarded; absolutely fascinating!
We see it everyday but we do not take it for granted, for it was always subject to wandering eyes of the economy-motivated venturists. My generation has now the responsibility to voice our concern over the potential mining concession – for the love of all and for all’“