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Portugal Energy and Mineral Resources
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
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    Portugal produced less than a quarter of its primary energy requirements and depended heavily on imported hydrocarbon fuels, mainly petroleum. Although efforts were made to locate domestic petroleum deposits in the early 1970s, none were found. Coal accounted for less than 5 percent of Portugal's primary energy use. Apparent consumption in 1988 was around 2.9 million tons, of which 240,000 tons were mined domestically. Portugal's low-grade anthracite coal, the production of which had stagnated since the mid-1970s, was mined near Porto. The United States had emerged as Portugal's main supplier of metallurgical and steam coal. A 5-million-ton-per-year capacity coal terminal, capable of handling 150,000 deadweight-ton vessels, was scheduled to be completed at Sines early in the 1990s. Because Portugal had no known natural gas reserves, the government as of mid-1988 was planning to build a liquified natural gas terminal at Setúbal and a gas distribution network. Portugal's hydroelectric potential was well developed and provided nearly half of the economy's electricity requirements.

    As a result of Portugal's accession to the EC, the country's energy sector was rapidly being deregulated and diversified. The state electric power company, Electricidade de Portugal (EDP), planned to invest US$700 million between 1990 and 1995 on dams and hydroelectric equipment. In 1990 EDP completed its second coal-burning power plant station to reduce its dependency on imported oil. In addition, coal consumption in the cement industry was forecast to grow as more facilities converted to coal from fuel oil.

    Portugal's metallic mineral resources were more impressive for their variety than for their contribution to GDP. The most important mines were in the north, in the mountains of Beira, where tungsten, tin, chromium, and other alloy minerals were mined in commercial quantities. Iron ore was mined in Moncorvo in the upper Douro Valley; formerly exported in its entirety, the Moncorvo mine production came to supply the government's integrated iron and steel works at Seixal near Lisbon and its Maia electric steel plant near Porto. Portugal was a significant world source of tungsten concentrate, most of which was exported. The mine had an annual production capacity of 1,400 tons of tungsten concentrate.

    Portugal's metallic mineral production was greatly enhanced upon the completion of the US$200 million Neves Corvo copper mine near Castro Verde in southern Portugal--the largest non-coal mining development project in Western Europe. An estimated 33 million tons of 7.8 percent copper were proven at the site as of 1986. The concentrator initially would process one million tons of ore annually, yielding 400,000 tons of concentrate containing nearly 150,000 tons of copper. The Neves Corvo operating company was owned 51 percent by the government and 49 percent by RTZ Metals Group of Britain.

    Data as of January 1993

    NOTE: The information regarding Portugal on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Portugal Energy and Mineral Resources information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Portugal Energy and Mineral Resources should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.

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Revised 10-Nov-04
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