From: Alice Taylor
Mining and Drilling Company Spotted Surveying Banks of Vjosa River in Permet

For several days, residents in Permet have noticed a helicopter flying overhead and dozens of trucks bearing GEOTEC Spa on the side.

Today, an Exit journalist visited the site to find out more. What we discovered was a number of vehicles parked next to the Vjosa River. At this same point, helicopters were landing and taking off throughout the day.

When Exit tried to get nearer the site, the journalist was asked to leave.

Exit called GEOTEC’s Albanian office to ask for information on what work was being conducted. After being on hold for some moments, the representative said:

“We are not authorized to give that information.”

When Exit asked if they were looking for oil or if they were planning on drilling, they repeated the above sentence. Exit has reached out to their office in Italy as well as the Municipality of Permet to ask for further information on the project.

According to their company profile:

“GEOTEC specializes in onshore seismic acquisition for geophysical research and geological knowledge of the subsurface for oil and gas exploration and scientific purposes. Geotec S.p.A. is a national leader when carrying out geophysical surveys using the 2D/3D seismic reflection method especially in mountain and very difficult areas where helicopter support is necessary.”

The Vjosa River has been a controversial topic in recent years as activists both locally and internationally have called for the entire river to be designated as a National Park. This would prevent it from being developed, destroyed, or interfered with by way of hydropower plants and similar.

Prime Minister Edi Rama has refused to designate it as such, instead, giving some parts of it Protected Area Status. While this offers the river some protection, it does not prevent HPPs from being built, nor does it stretch to this part of Permet.