Rio Tinto’s senior official in Serbia denied reports that the company was using paid advertisements to advocate the exploitation of lithium in the country.
Rio Sava Exploration CEO Vesna Prodanovic said in a written statement handed to N1 that the the report that “the Rio Tinto company is using paid advertisements on TV stations with national frequencies to advocate the exploitation of lithium” is untrue.
“The Rio Tinto company did not advocate the exploitation of Lithium with the video but, as a socially responsible company, it wanted to make everything in terms of the possible risks and benefits of the Jadar Project clear, transparent and open. Our company wants to hear the views of the wider public. We stress that the Rio Tinto company operates in line with Serbia’s positive regulations in everything it does as well as European Union standards and that it carefully and responsibly does everything within the Jadar project,” the statement said.
It also denied an N1 report which said that this “renders meaningless any possibility of the public really deciding about the lithium exploitation project”.
“On the contrary, this prevents the wider public from hearing the other side of the story about Rio Tinto’s operations in order to get a balanced and true image about the Jadar project and the company. Also, the report prevents the Rio Tinto company from communicating with the citizens of Serbia which inflicts damage on them and the company,” the Rio Tinto statement said.
A number of NGOs called the electronic media watchdog REM to ban the Rio Tinto ad about the Jadar Project earlier this week. Rio Tinto has been preparing to start exploiting lithium in western Serbia. The project met with widespread opposition from the local population in the Loznica area as well as opposition politicians and environmental organizations.