Belgrade daily Danas said on Wednesday that the Serbian government deceived the public when it said that a new smelting plant would be built at the Mining and Smelting Basin (RTB) Bor.
The government spent 350 million Euro to reconstruct existing facilities instead of a building a new plant which would not pollute the environment, it said adding that the government secured the funding and provided guarantees to build a new smelting plant.
The residents of Bor have been protesting the high pollution levels in their town for months, claiming that the Chinese Zijin, which took over the plant is not doing enough to lower pollution level.
An unnamed Belgrade University professor engaged in environmental issues told the daily the public was formally told that a new plant was being built while the old one was being reconstructed and added that the government guaranteed in 2015 that the pollution problem would be solved once the plant starts operating. The government said the new plant would solve the problem of air pollution in the production of up to 80,000 tons of copper, the professor said, recalling that the Chinese Zijin company which took over the RTB has reached a production level of 60,000 tons which the reconstructed plant should have been able to handle while securing clean air over the city of Bor.
The Chinese company told Danas that care for the environment is a continuing process but added that “unfortunately, environmental problems were ignored for more than 100 years”. The company promised to set up filtering facilities and upgrade the smelting plant.