Abstract for: Community engagement practices: Social dynamics in lithium mining in Portugal

Concerning decarbonization strategies for the road transport sector, electric vehicles (EVs) have been widely advertised as the way forward. Nevertheless, when considering a lifecycle perspective, attention must be given to potential negative impacts, especially during extraction and refining of raw minerals for EV-battery technologies. Particularly, lithium production has expanded to meet EV-battery demand. In Europe, one of the most relevant lithium mining projects is the Barroso Mine in Northern Portugal, which has faced strong public opposition due to transparency, communication, and trust issues. Therefore, this study aims to dynamically model the development of lithium mining in Northern Portugal and assess its socio-economic impacts considering different community and public engagement policies affecting community and public trust. Results are expected to have practical implications for stakeholder engagement and the development of the Barroso Mine project. This work will also contribute to the literature on SD modelling of socio-economic aspects of the energy transition by attempting to represent the dynamics behind the development of community and public trust. In relation to low-carbon technologies, it is underscored the importance of whole-systems perspective as means to avoid past mistakes and make progress towards a just energy transition.