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Portugal still ‘safe’ for mining investments, minister says

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Despite an ongoing corruption probe, Portugal remains “safe” for investments in lithium mining, the country’s economy minister said Wednesday.

“I think Portugal is one of the safest places in the world” for investments in lithium mining, António Costa Silva told POLITICO’s Sustainable Future Week summit. “We are a country where the rule of law is crucial, and no one is above the law.”

Portuguese authorities are investigating possible acts of corruption, influence peddling and malfeasance in connection with the concession of lithium mining projects in the north of the country, a green hydrogen mega-project and a data center in Sines. The projects add up to an investment of €23.5 billion.

The scandal has dealt a heavy blow to Brussels’ ambitions to diversify its supply of raw materials needed for green and digital technologies, as Portugal’s lithium deposits are seen as central to those efforts.

Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa — who submitted his resignation as a result of the scandal but will remain caretaker PM until snap elections can be held in March — has similarly stressed that the country continues to be a safe place for foreign investors.

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