European lithium development company Savannah has secured a positive Declaration of Environmental Impact (DIA) for its wholly-owned Barroso lithium project in northern Portugal.

Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente (APA), the Portuguese Environmental regulator, has granted positive DIA for its revised design and optimisation for the Barroso lithium project.

The DIA has been issued with certain conditions, and compensations, which ensure that the project will be developed in a socially and environmentally responsible way.

With the key positive decision, the company is enabled to advance the project development to the next stage of the environmental licencing process.

Also, it can complete the outstanding work required to complete the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS), so that the project can recommence.

Savannah CEO Dale Ferguson said: “We are delighted that APA has issued a positive DIA for the Barroso Lithium Project. This is an extremely important step forward, not only in the development of the Project, but also in the development of the lithium raw material industry in Portugal.

“Given Savannah’s commitment to responsible practices, minimising impact and sharing socio-economic benefits, the Company has agreed to the Conditions associated with the DIA.

“These conditions include obtaining conditional approval to construct the proposed bypass road to join the A24 motorway and limiting the removal of vegetation from the project area to certain months of the year.

The positive DIA allows the company to conduct important economic studies on the project, including an updated Scoping Study, which is expected in the early second half of this year.

Savannah will publish a new Scoping Study based on the revised project design submitted to APA which incorporates current consensus spodumene concentrate price forecasts.

In addition, the positive DIA will support the company to finalise the project’s DFS, which includes a small programme of fieldwork involving some drilling.

Savannah will start the fieldwork later this year, which is expected to take around six months, and the DFS is expected to be completed in around 12 months after the fieldwork.

Furthermore, the company aims to maintain and expand its stakeholder engagement programme to optimise the project’s Benefit Sharing and Good Neighbour Plans

Ferguson added: “The decision from APA now gives us the detailed framework we need to produce the final technical design of the Project.

“Hence, our next major task on a technical front is to undertake all the outstanding work necessary to complete the Project’s final design.

“This will then allow us to complete both the environmental licencing process and the Project’s Definitive Feasibility Study.”