The name is not a guarantee. Far from it. Black Mass in Sardinian land is black mass. It sends the whole world, it receives, without a fight, the eternal Sulcis. Deep Sardinia, which has always been a crossroads of poisons and work at risk of health, bartered in exchange for work and a loaf of bread. The project now has a protocol number. Sent to the rooms in Viale Trento with an access code for files still to be kept locked up.
First, fire everyone
The strategy of this new mission of poisons to be sent to Sardinian land is written in past and recent history: fire everyone, shut down the plants, make the grip of famine and misery feel even stronger, to then force everyone to accept anything, even the "Black Mass", the one sent to Sardinia from all over the world. They, the proponents, Swiss with metallurgical and mining businesses in half the world, describe it as the lifeblood for a garden full of dollars, ready to revive the hopes of Sulcis on its knees. The reality, however, is quite another. The question is disarming: why do they want to build this type of para-industrial plant to extract "Lithium & company" from the waste of exhausted batteries, coming from all over the world, right in the devastated wasteland of Portovesme? The answer would be automatic and self-evident if the God of money weren't involved, the one capable of shamelessly destroying the right to health and the environment.
In anticipation of this new downpour of poisons in the last "parallel" of Sardinia, the alignments have always been consolidated: on the one hand those who believe blindly in the benefactors of the Swiss multinational who push this new project and on the other those who have already time have opened their eyes to the "blackmail" of work and health. Thinking that this battery disposal-recycling plan coming from all over the world is a disinterested "gift" for Sulcis is like believing in Little Red Riding Hood fairy tales. In reality, when the technicians appointed and paid by the multinational write that this is the first and only Western and European project for this type of recycling, one should ask oneself a question and try to give an answer.
Canton Ticino or Ruhr
Why, when it comes to disposing and recycling this kind of material, don't they think of the rich plains of northern Italy or the green pastures of Canton Ticino, the expanses of coal mines in the German Ruhr or those immense expanses of vineyards in French Provence? Simple, because no one wants to manage these wastes of "Black Mass". An unknown matter, of which almost everything is unknown, where even the parameters on the effects on the environment and on human health remain precluded to most, circumscribed in the dignified affirmation there are no precedents.
And it is no coincidence that the plant presented in the Region by the multinational which manages the metallurgy of lead and zinc after the transfer and escape of Eni, Portovesme srl, has proposed an experimental project. The ambition is to make money, a lot of money, by creating the largest hub for the disposal and recycling of spent batteries, full, for mere mortals, of poisons, the same ones that battery recyclers consider rare and precious materials, such as Lithium or Cobalt, Nickel and Manganese. The plan starts from afar, anticipated with suffused phrases, and then, in the last days of May, proclaimed as the future of Sulcis in the papers broadcast in the regional buildings. In reality, the papers stored in Glencore's icloud say much more.
In the 133 pages of the preliminary environmental study and in the "Design and construction of the new demonstration plant for the production of lithium carbonate and mixed metal oxides from the Black Mass treatment" there is a map not only of the chemical-physical process, but also economic and employment impact. This first step, sold as a panacea to compensate for layoffs and the closure of the Portovesme and San Gavino plants, is nothing more than an investment of five million euros, or rather 5, including "new investments and modernization works on existing plants".
No funding, but...
The expenditure forecast which speaks of financing for the new plant is enlightening: "No financing or funds are foreseen (but obviously open to their use if available (JFT, Piano Mezzogiorno, etc.)". They do everything themselves: on the one hand they state that no funding is foreseen, but then they shamelessly declare that they will not give up if they are available. In reality it is obvious that they will ask for it, as the premise of the project dictates. It is simply disarming, even more so, what they pompously define «Estimate the impact on employment both in the construction phase and in the operation phase.” Never in Sulcis had a multinational company dared so much.
Pizza & mozzarella
The Swiss even have the courage to put it in black and white: «The project envisages a construction phase, for which an estimated employment impact of 15 people for a period of seven months and an operation phase which involves the use of about 20 personnel (both direct and indirect)». A well-organized pizzeria would produce much more employment and would not even need to import mozzarella.
Black Mass & Poverty
Here, on the other hand, for an employment forecast bordering on the insult in a land on its knees, a grand-style landing of ships from half the world loaded with "Black Mass" is planned, the black mass that the gentlemen of Glencore would acquire directly from their Canadian Li-Cycle partners, who would produce this concoction of shredded poisons from batteries scavenged around the world. The truth, the one without frills and bows, emerges when the issue of authorizations has to be addressed. The procedure leaves no way out: «Hazardous waste disposal and recovery plants».
Glencore's "courage" is notorious, given the way it announced it was throwing hundreds, if not thousands of workers onto the streets. The procedural gamble, however, is such that the multinational from Baar, German-speaking Switzerland, surpasses itself by applying for a procedure that in fact would like to avoid the Environmental Impact Assessment, proposing a «Verification of subjectability to EIA aimed at authorizing the plant called Li-Demo of Portovesme srl». It is no coincidence that the last chapters of the plan filed in the Region are those relating to the environment and public health. The “bloody” issues, those of life or death, are tackled as if that plant had to be built in a virgin area, free from pollution and lethal diseases linked to productions that have always been polluting. And yet, all this, for the Swiss, seems to be a reinforcing element. In other words: given that we are in an already heavily polluted and compromised industrial area, a new plant of this magnitude adds nothing and takes nothing away. The most shocking sentence of the plan is in the chapter «Health risk». They write it as if the matter could be declassified in the chapter of the reserved notes at the bottom of the page with magnifying glass characters: «It was not possible to carry out an assessment of the carcinogenic effects using the EU approach, as the Benchmarks are not available dose (BMD) for the substances of interest'. Translated, on carcinogenic effects we cannot use the European evaluation rules because there are no rules and precedents. After all, Sulcis and Portovesme are chosen for this reason: to experiment, on the skin of the Sardinians and on the poor land of Sardinia. In the world, moreover, there is a mountain of "Black Mass" that nobody wants, the Swiss, on the other hand, know what to do with it: send it to Sardinia.