Serbian villagers block access to Euro Lithium exploration sites

NEWS 27.04.2022 16:16
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Source: N1

Villagers in western Serbia blocked roads to prevent Euro Lithium company crews from searching for lithium and borate on Wednesday.

Residents of the village of Lukavac outside Valjevo used cars and tractors to block the approaches to two plots of land where the Canadian company started its research on Tuesday. An N1 reporter said that the police is present at the road block.

The two plots of land are several hundred meters apart. An N1 crew was told on Tuesday by a man who said he was a Euro Lithium employee that the land was private property and asked the crew to leave. He told N1 that the company was renting the land.

Lawyer Sreten Djordjevic, leader of the protest, said that one of the exploration sites could be inside the Valjevo-Mionica Basin. “If that is true then Euro Lithium staff have committed a crime and we will do everything to send them to jail,” he told N1. The Higher Court in Valjevo issued a temporary ban on Euro Lithium’s geological exploration in December 2021, pending a motion filed with the Ministry of Mining and Energy to grant the local population an equal status in deciding about the basin and refuse the Canadian company an extension of its exploration permit. Euro Lithium said on its web portal that its “cornerstone project, situated approximately 10km outside Valjevo is our title to a pair of mineral exploration licenses that appear to contain a significant deposit of borates, lithium and other critical raw materials”.

The resident of Lukavac said a day earlier that the land could be sold but that environmental issues are of concern to everyone and demanded an end to the exploration.

The N1 reporter said that local residents told her that several of the bores have leaked onto neighboring land polluting wells used for crop irrigation.

The Serbian government withdrew permits for the Rio Tinto company’s Jadar lithium mine project outside Loznica in western Serbia following protests. The authorities also pledged not to allow the project to go ahead during the campaign leading up to the April 3 elections.