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US News Lithium Mine: In the face of the protesters, the Serbian Prime Minister abandons a project from Rio Tinto

02:45  22 january  2022
02:45  22 january  2022 Source:   liberation.fr

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And Serbia 's prime minister , Ana Brnabic, announced the demise of the much-trumpeted lithium extraction operation just days after her counterpart in Australia cheered the deportation of Serbia 's sporting icon. The cancelled project is more likely a victim of Serbia 's domestic politics, rather than a In December, local authorities in western Serbia scrapped a plan to allocate land for a lithium mine in the region. President Aleksandar Vucic had said that the opening of such a mine would require approval following an environmental study and a referendum. In a statement to Reuters news agency

Trying to defuse large protests by environmentalists, Serbia ’s populist government said Thursday that it was canceling all licenses for mining giant Rio Tinto to open a lithium mine in the Balkan country. For several weekends, thousands of demonstrators in Belgrade and other Serbian towns have blocked main roads and bridges to protest the planned mine in western Serbia , despite an intimidation campaign by authorities. Opponents say the project would cause severe environmental damage.

Une manifestation à Belgrade, le 11 décembre, contre l'entreprise Rio Tinto et son projet de mine de lithium en Serbie. © Oliver Bunic a demonstration in Belgrade on December 11, against the company Rio Tinto and his Lithium mine project in Serbia.

Several events of rare magnitude had surprised Serbia in December. Thousands of people had gone down on the street to denounce the Lithium Mine project of the Anglo-Australian company Rio Tinto. Thursday evening, the Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic , announced on television that she had heard the demands of the protesters before announcing the withdrawal of the project. Savo Manojlovic, one of the main opposition figures in Rio Tinto, welcomed the decision, but recalled the second request from environmental associations: the prohibition of boron and lithium exploitation for twenty years. "One more step, we are close," exclaimed.

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Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic speaks during a press conference in Belgrade, Serbia , Thursday, Jan. BELGRADE – Trying to defuse large protests by environmentalists, Serbia ’s populist government said Thursday that it was canceling all licenses for mining giant Rio Tinto to open a lithium mine in the Balkan country. “We have fulfilled all the requests of the environmental protests and put an end to Rio Tinto in the Republic of Serbia ,” Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said in a televised address.

Protesters demonstrate against the opening of a Rio Tinto Group lithium mine , in Belgrade, Serbia , on Saturday, Sept. After the destruction of ancient caves in 2020 led to global embarrassment and a management clean-out, the newly appointed chief of Rio Tinto Group was betting the development of a massive lithium project would be key to a fresh start. His plan is now in tatters. On Thursday, Serbia Prime Minister Ana Brnabic cited environmental concerns for her government’s decision to put a “full stop” on the bid by Rio ’s chief executive, Jakob Stausholm, to develop Jadar, Europe’s biggest

The environmental advocates feared that this lithium mine, located west of Serbia in the Jadar Valley, pollute these fertile lands. "The extraction process requires thousands of tons of sulfuric acid", Pointe Bojana Novakovic, NGO Coordinator Mar Drine, engaged against lithium mines in Serbia. According to her, the project would have destroyed the rivers on which the many farmers depend in the region as well as the inhabitants.

Rio Tinto also bad press in many countries . In 2020, the Industrial Group boasts an ancient Aboriginal site in Australia, aroused the emotion and resignation of its boss. A year earlier, a study had highlighted high lead and uranium concentrations in a river downstream of a Rio Tinto mine, Madagascar, endangering the health of local people.

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Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic speaks during a press conference in Belgrade, Serbia , Thursday, Jan. BELGRADE – Trying to defuse large protests by environmentalists, Serbia ’s populist government said Thursday that it was canceling all licenses for mining giant Rio Tinto to open a lithium mine in the Balkan country. “We have fulfilled all the requests of the environmental protests and put an end to Rio Tinto in the Republic of Serbia ,” Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said in a televised address.

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic speaks during a press conference in Belgrade, Serbia , Thursday, Jan. BELGRADE – Trying to defuse large protests by environmentalists, Serbia ’s populist government said Thursday that it was canceling all licenses for mining giant Rio Tinto to open a lithium mine in the Balkan country. “We have fulfilled all the requests of the environmental protests and put an end to Rio Tinto in the Republic of Serbia ,” Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said in a televised address.

"A political decision" before the April

election "If the company has decided to invest here, in Serbia, it is also because it knows that it may not comply with legislation, for a corruption" , denounces Dejan Lekic, co-founder of the NGO NGO, which brings together scientific experts on environmental issues. It takes for example the mines of Bor, operated by Chinese companies, which are one of the most polluted sites in the country, according to the Serbian public institutions themselves.

Weekly events started on November 27. Several Saturdays immediately, gatherings blocked the main roads of dozens of cities including the Belgrade capital. Quickly, the subject of Rio Tinto's mine invited in the campaign for the April legislative and presidential elections. A wide range of environmental associations has joined Rio Tinto to denounce repeated environmental attacks in the country. "The government has declined under the popular pressure, it was afraid of the consequences in the polls," is enthusiastic Bojana Novakovic.

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Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic speaks during a press conference in Belgrade, Serbia , Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. “We have fulfilled all the requests of the environmental protests and put an end to Rio Tinto in the Republic of Serbia ,” Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said in a televised address. “Everything is finished. It’s over.” Used in batteries for electric cars, lithium is considered one of the most sought-after metals of the future as the world shifts to more renewable energy sources.

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Trying to defuse large protests by environmentalists, Serbia ’s populist government said Thursday that it was canceling all licenses for mining giant Rio Tinto to open a lithium mine in the Balkan country. “We have fulfilled all the requests of the environmental Used in batteries for electric cars, lithium is considered one of the most sought-after metals of the future as the world shifts to more renewable energy sources. For several weekends, thousands of demonstrators in Belgrade and other Serbian towns have blocked main roads and bridges to protest the planned

But for Dejan Lekic, the case can benefit today to the government. "By announcing the end of Rio Tinto, the premier knows that there will be no events. It's a political decision, " explain. Bojana Novakovic confirms: The government wants first and foremost to get this topic of the election campaign and regain your hand on the debates. "But the withdrawal of the Rio Tinto project is only a first step. We demand the change of the law to prevent another mining company from being replaced Rio Tinto, " continues.

The lithium, "white gold" of Europe

The co-founder of the NGO NGO asks for a more global approach. "Throughout the country, there is a quantity of incredible environmental issues that are eclipsed by Rio Tinto," note. Dejan Lekic cites the quality of the air, which degrades each winter in the Balkans. "All this is related to the absence of a state of law and endemic corruption," is annoying.

The construction of the lithium mine was accompanied by a certain promise of ecological transition from Rio Tinto. Indeed, is an essential component for the construction of electric batteries , whose demand is growing at full speed. The Anglo-Australian group hoped to become the main producer of this "white gold" in Europe.

In the falls of autumn in Serbia, the protesters argued that they refused to pay their land the ecological transition of the rich European countries and their electric cars. "We do not want to become a mining colony," continues Bojana Novakovic. Full of hope, the young woman believes that her fellow citizens have finally found a cause that unites them: the defense of natural resources.

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