Serbia puts the Jadar lithium mining project back on the table

The Serbian government is about to greenlight the project that would establish Europe’s largest lithium mine, according to an interview of Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic to the Financial Times.

In 2022, following massive protests, the Serbian government stopped the Jadar project. The announcement was made after the Serbian Academy of Science and Arts announced the implementation of the Jadar project would have devastating effects on the environment.

“The implementation of the Jadar project would lead to massive devastation of space, permanent changes in the character of the landscape, degradation of the biodiversity of land, forests, surface and underground water, displacement of local residents, cessation of sustainable and profitable agricultural activities,” Velimir Radmilović, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, said.

Demonstrators protest against lithium mining as President Aleksandar Vucic welcomed his guests, in Belgrade, Serbia, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022.

The company Rio Tinto recently published the environmental study claiming the mining project wouldn’t impact much the environment.

“The publication of these plans does not mean that the implementation of the ‘Jadar’ project continues. If it comes to fruition, then the studies would be submitted in the regular procedure foreseen by the law, which implies a public discussion,” representative of Rio Tinto in Serbia, Marijanti Babić, said.

Prime Minister Miloš Vučević emphasized lithium can be a serious advantage for Serbia.

“I believe that it is possible to have economic and preserve ecology and the environment and people. I believe that the strategic advantage of Serbia is in ores and minerals and I believe that we must take into account the national interests and the interests of our people and not the interests of private companies,” Vučević said.

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