Lisbon, 18 Nov 2019 (Lusa) – Until September four municipalities concentrated one third of the quarries in critical situation, with need for signs in the surrounding area, according to the Intervention Plan presented today by the Government, which involved the placement of more than 1,200 traffic signs.

The Critical Quarry Intervention Plan is the result of a survey by the Mining Development Company following the accident of November 19, 2018, when a section of road between Borba and Vila Viçosa collapsed, causing five fatalities.

Between March and April, the authorities visited the 150 quarries identified as being in critical condition and needing traffic signs in the surrounding area.

Signage plans were then sent to the managing bodies of the roads and, between May and September, the signs were placed on these roads.

According to information distributed today at the presentation of the implementation of the Intervention Plan in Lisbon, the placement of road signs was completed on 25 September.

A total of 1,253 signs were installed, of which 151 are directional (44 specific to persons, seven for heavy vehicles and 72 are general) and 1,102 unspecified signs, in an investment of around 196 million euros.

The municipality of Vila Viçosa (Évora district) had the largest number of quarries in need of signage in the surrounding area (19), followed by the municipalities of Alcobaça (Leiria district), Borba (Évora) and Ponte de Lima ( Viana do Castelo), with 13 quarries each.

Mondim de Basto and Penafiel appeared next, with eight quarries each.

As a precautionary measure, the plan stated that quarries had to signal the danger of sloping fronts or steep slopes, including the creation of safety zones, and to signal danger in quarry access.

It was also identified the need to signal the danger of lagoons, where drowning accidents or exposure to other depth factors may occur, and to signal the danger of collapsing or downgrading of roads, including conditioning and interdictions of traffic and installation. of protection systems.

Of these 150 quarries identified, 36 are dedicated to marble exploration, 34 to granite, 19 to sands and clays and many to ornamental granite. Ten quarries are dedicated to the exploitation of ornamental limestone and six to shales and slates, while another 26 quarries refer to the exploration of other unspecified ores.

Regarding the particularities of the signage plans, 78 isolated quarries were identified – which corresponded to 78 plans – and 72 sets of quarries located in contiguous exploration areas (quarry core), corresponding to 20 plans.

The Intervention Plan made it possible to identify 191 quarries in critical situation (including the 150 requiring signage).

Regarding the geographical location of the 191 quarries, 77 are in the northern region (where there are 460 class 1 and 2 quarries), 32 in the Centro region (where there are 321), 24 in the Lisbon and Tagus Valley regions (with 297 quarries), 55 in the Alentejo (with 308) and three in the Algarve (with 40).

According to statistics from the Directorate-General for Energy and Geology, in 2018 the amount produced in the quarries was around 48 million tonnes, with a production value of approximately 350 million euros, in an activity that employs 5,389 workers.