Warning: Protests in Serbia to radicalise if Rio Tinto papers are not published

NEWS 06.01.2022 15:44
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Source: Tanjug/AP/Darko Vojinović

The 'Ecological Uprising' Movement warned on Thursday that unless the documents related to Rio Tinto lithium mining in western Serbia were not made public by Friday, the environmentalist protests planned in the country for the weekend would radicalise.

They demanded that Serbia’s Government show all the documents signed with the Anglo-Australian company and its branches in the country.

The Movement also reiterated its request for the Government Spatial Plan for the Special purpose Area related to the ‘Jadar project’ be abolished because, as they said, it enabled Rio Tinto to obtain a construction permit.

In the meantime, Mining and Energy Minister Zorana Mihajlovic said that Rio Sava Exploration, Rio Tinto’s subsidiary in Serbia, has paid some 110.5 thousand euros (13 million dinars) for geological research to the state, while the exploitation fee would depend on the amount of exploited jadarite mineral.

Mihajlovic added that from 2004-2020, Rio Tinto invested a total of 209.11 million US dollars in the ‘Jadar Project.’

President Aleksandar Vucic has recently said that Serbia wil have to pay a billion euros if it withdraws from the business with the Anglo-Australian company.

„We are no longer interested in any excuses and spins of the regime. The ‘Jadar Project’ must stop immediately. If Prime Minister Ana Brnabic does not do that, longer and more numerous roadblocks will be organised next Saturday. The further radicalisation of the protest is also planned,“ the Movement’s statement said.

It added that they would organise protests and roadblocks at a dozen locations across Serbia.

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Last December, the weekend’s roadblocks resulted in the authorities’ withdrawal of one disputed law and the amendment of the other. The local Spatial Plan was also abolished, but the environmentalists said it had not been enough. Some described the moves as a political manoeuvre ahead of the April 3 elections and said they did not trust the authorities’ promises.

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