Portugal

An Overview of Portugal
Mining in Portugal

Portugal is a modern European Country with first class infrastructure, judicial security, a transparent and updated mining law and clear rules and regulations governing foreign investment. Mining and exploration are being actively encouraged by the Portuguese Government as an important part of the State's economic planning. The Portuguese policy on mining is in line with the European Union's overall strategy which encourages exploration and mining for metals and minerals considered to be of strategic importance and critical to its economy.

The geology of Portugal is complex. Its diversified geology gives significant potential for new discoveries of base and precious metal deposits, and other minerals such as rare earths.

Some of the earliest evidence of mining activity in Portugal dates back to the Roman occupation of the Iberian Peninsula 2,000 years ago. Wherever possible, the Romans mined the softer gossanous oxidized portions of mineral deposits for copper, zinc, lead, gold and silver and avoided the harder rock types. They also mined gold and polymetallic sulphide vein deposits and were astute alluvial gold miners. There are hundreds of known or suspected Roman mining sites in the country.

The first "modern" mining concession in the country was granted in 1836 and the industrial revolution put increased emphasis on mining. In the 19th century Portugal had about 300 concessions.

Today, Portugal's industrial minerals sector produces a variety of materials. The dimension stone and rock salt sectors continued to be particularly important segments of the mineral industry in terms of value and trade. Portugal is also one of the leading producers of copper, silver, tin, tungsten, and zinc concentrates in the EU and a significant producer of kaolin, gypsum, and talc (Direcção Geral de Energia e Geologia, 2013).

According to the US Geological Survey, Portugal's mining and mineral processing industries represented about 1% of the GDP in 2012. The mineral sector employed about 32,970, or 0.6% of the labor force total of 5.495 million. Portugal's most valuable metallic mineral resources were copper, silver, tin, tungsten, and zinc. The most valuable resources of industrial minerals besides marble were lithium, pyrites, and rock salt. The country had limited energy resources and depended upon imports for the bulk of its energy needs.

History & Economy
Portugal is one of Europe's smaller countries at roughly a third the size of the United Kingdom. It lies on the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula, bordering only Spain. Portugal's Imperial past has had a lasting impact on global history. Portuguese exploration of the Indies and the New World began in 15th century when explorers such as Vasco da Gama put to sea in search of a passage to India. By the 16th century these sailors had helped build a huge empire embracing Brazil as well as swathes of Africa and Asia. Today, some 200 million people speak Portuguese around the world.

For much of the 20th Century Portugal was a dictatorship dominated by the key figure of Antonio de Oliveira Salazar. This period was brought to an end in 1974 in a bloodless coup -the Revolution of the Carnations- which ushered in a new era of democracy. Since becoming a member of the then European Community in 1986, Portugal's traditionally largely agricultural economy became increasingly diversified and orientated towards the service sector.

The country experienced solid growth in the 1990s, but GDP per head remains well under the EU average. The 2008 financial crisis left Portugal hungry for foreign investment, and the mining sector has attracted considerable attention from the government as a potential source of vital investment. Consequently, we believe 2016 is going to be a year of political change in Portugal. Responsibility for the oversight of the Mining Industry has reverted back to the Ministry of Economy, and no longer falls under the umbrella of the Ministry of the Environment.