Activists handed over 290,000 signatures against Rio Tinto to Serbia’s Govt.

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Source: TANJUG/STRAHINJA ACIMOVIC

Representatives of the 'Go–Change' Movement handed over 290,000 signatures to Serbia's Government on Friday against Rio Tinto lithium mining.

The Movement’s representative Savo Manojlovic told reporters he requested the abolition of the Spatial Plan of the Special Purpose Area for the ‘Jadar Project’ on the opening of lithium mines in Serbia and the introduction of a moratorium on the exploitation of lithium and boron for 20 years.

Manojlovic added t the Spatial Plan was adopted because of the Rio Tinto company and that it was the legal basis for the company’s business in Serbia.

„If there is no that Plan, there is no legal obligation for Serbia to compensate Rio Tinto,“ Manojlovic said.

He stressed the possible annulment of the permits given to Rio Tinto for research in Serbia, mentioned by the country's authorities, would not affect that company because they would expire soon anyway, and the research was over.

Speaking about President Aleksandar Vucic's suggestion about a moratorium on the project for a year, Manojlovic said it meant to calm down the situation ahead of the upcoming elections on April 3.

"The Government and the Parliament have to implement our requests by January 20, or otherwise we will start collecting 30,000 signatures for the people's initiative," he added.

The environmental organisations said they would organise roadblocks on five locations across Serbia on Saturday in another warning to the authorities to cut all ties with the Anglo-Australian mining company.