There have been several engagements recently between an APPDR team and Moto Minerale (MM), the Operator of the Quarry adjacent to PDR.
We have outlined several concerns (both verbally and in writing) expressed by owners, with properties backing onto the road used by the Quarry just outside the resort. The engagements with MM have been very open and transparent. We have seen a genuine willingness from MM to work with APPDR to minimize the impacts on owners. APPDR has established direct lines of communication with the recently appointed CEO of MM as well as the ongoing liaison with the Quarry Technical Manager which was already established by Joe Boia.
Regular meetings are now taking place between MM and APPDR Representatives.
During the last engagements the following issues have been clarified.
- The Quarry is owned by the Company Franco Lda based in Serra d’El Rei. Franco has a Licence to Operate under private right. The quarry has existed for many years prior to the development of PDR. The current Operator MM has an Agreement to Operate with Franco Lda under the existing licence. The size of the Quarry limits the applicability of environmental legislation as defined in Portuguese Law. (This , however, has not been used by MM as a mechanism to avoid engagement with APPDR to address concerns raised)
- The operating Licence is controlled by the Camara in Obidos. This authority is devolved by National Government.
- There has been a reduction in the number of Trucks moving product from the Quarry. The loading hours used have been adjusted from 05.00 to 00.00 to 08.00 to 18.00.
- Investment is underway to install dust suppression equipment and improved noise attenuation of the Quarry facilities. This will include reducing dust from Trucks leaving the quarry. The dust suppression system has in fact been completed.
- Planning Applications for expansion of the Quarry would involve areas away from PDR and would allow more distance between Quarry Plant and our Residents.
- MM acknowledged that the existing route taken by Trucks to exit the Quarry along the back of properties in Descobertas is undesirable. A study has been undertaken to find alternative means of egress for trucks leaving the Quarry. This has had to take into consideration the size of Trucks used ( 25 – 30 Tonnes). This study has identifies two potential alternatives and MM will advise in the near future which one they will implement. These are;
a) Construction of a new road internal to the Quarry which will emerge at the same point used by Trucks to enter the Quarry (The fork in the Serra d’El Rey road.) Construction of this road will take approximately 12 months. This Project was reported as on schedule by MM at our last engagement on 5th June.
b) A more direct route across Private Land that will emerge onto the Serra d’El Rey road at the same location as referenced above. This will be much quicker to implement. The main challenge with this option is establishing rights of access with existing owners. Meetings have taken place in the last 10 days to expedite this solution. The President of Serra d’El Rey has added his support to this solution. Further meetings will take place in the next week (without APPDR participation) to work this solution. Option a), however, remains the base case.
Given the background above, we are working with MM to address the immediate concerns of our owners. It must be emphasised that Heavy Trucks will continue to use sections of the Serra d’El Rey Road and MM have pointed out that they have every right to do so as it is a public road. They have, however, been very proactive in communicating with their contactors regarding adherence to speed limits and road safety issues ( with particular focus on using the road through PDR) It must be noted that a significant volume of Quarry Traffic ( 50%) is not under the control of MM and are free to use public roads. We have approached Oxy to communicate similar requirements to their Contactors. (In particular Construction Traffic to West Cliffs)
MM have also pointed out that there are many examples in Portugal where the Mining and Minerals Sector and Tourism coexist without impact. This is an important factor given the National Economic benefits and employment of local workers that result.
Given the above there is clearly good news for the owners in the immediate vicinity of the Quarry. APPDR will continue to engage other entities with an influence on the PDR Environment, and in particular the road issues.
APPDR Management Committee