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Excitement Surrounding Potential Lithium Mining in Austria

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There is considerable excitement within certain Styrian communities regarding a subsidiary of an Australian mining company that intends to engage in lithium mining in Styria. The area near Glashütten, once a site of mining activities centuries ago, has piqued people’s interest as a potential location for lithium extraction.

The head of a European subsidiary of an Australian mining group, Dietrich Wanke from European Lithium, has confirmed the initiation of exploration projects for potential lithium mining in Styria. Wanke stated, “Exploration serves as the preliminary stage for commercial planning, with the intention of subsequently proceeding with mining, if deemed necessary.”

Wolfsberg Technically Prepared for Extraction

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Across the Koralm mountain range in Wolfsberg, progress has advanced significantly due to the presence of an existing tunnel. Technically, preparations for extraction are believed to be in order; however, financing remains unresolved (for more details, refer to the article “Lithium Mining is Delayed” on kaernten.ORF.at, October 14th, 2020).

Within Styria, the company has identified three specific areas of interest: the Bretstein-Lachtal area in the Murtal district, the Klementkogel in the Voitsberg district, and the Wildbachgraben near the Weinebene in the Deutschlandsberg district. Unlike Carinthia, Styria has yet to undergo a feasibility study. Wanke explained, “Typically, the transition from exploration to mining production takes more than a decade.”

Considerations for Drinking Water, Ski Area, and Protected Sanctuary

Despite the anticipation within affected communities, concerns have arisen among local authorities. Josef Wallner (SPÖ), the mayor of Deutschlandsberg, has expressed apprehension regarding the impact on drinking water in the Koralm region, prompting his call for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) test.

Likewise, Johann Schmidhofer (ÖVP), the mayor of Oberwölz, finds it challenging to envision mining activities due to the presence of a ski area in Lachtal and a Natura 2000 protected area. European Lithium CEO, Wanke, acknowledges that the municipalities have a stake in the decision-making process. Once the time is right and the potential extraction sites are determined, all parties will be provided with transparent information.

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