The experts of Rio Tinto conducted many years of research on the mineral jadarite (sodium-lithium-borosilicate) and found it in 2004 in the basin of the river Jadar, after which it was named. During this, the representatives of the state, together with the authorities from Rio Tinto, announced the construction of a chemical plant for 2021, and this endeavor was marked by the Serbian public as an investment of the century.
The local population of Brezjak is most worried about the impact of dirty technologies related to lithium mining on their environment, which was often warned by domestic experts for environmental protection, the Oslobodjenje movement announced. In the village of Brezjak in the Loznica area, a large protest was held in front of the representative office of Rio Tinto, against the company’s intention to start the exploitation of lithium ore.
Marija Alimpic from the association “Let’s protect Jadar and Radjevina” in her address to the gathered pointed out that “citizens were not informed about this project, there were no consultations, and many were intimidated.”
“We must be aware of how many long-term problems this project will leave, not only for the residents of Loznica and its surroundings, but also for the whole of Serbia,” said Alimpic and added:
“Rio Tinto representative Gregory Maher does not know where he came to. “Serbs will defend their homes, their villages and their environment.”
This was also confirmed by the resident Slavisa Miletic, who said in a fiery speech that he is “a descendant of famous ancestors and the father of six children, but that he does not intend to retire, but to fight for his country.”
Professor Dusko Kuzovic, a representative of the Oslobodjenje movement, emphasized that the project was not transparent.
“The feasibility study has been declared a business secret of Rio Tinto. We demand a moratorium, not only on this project, but also on all other endeavors that permanently destroy the environment, such as mini-hydro power plants. ”
Representatives of environmental movements, the PAKT organization, “Ne damo Jadar”, who have been pointing out numerous problems of lithium mining for a long time, also spoke at the gathering. The protest gathered several hundred residents of Brezjak and surrounding villages, who carried banners “Rio Tinto go away”, “We are defending the whole of Serbia”, “What will our children tell us”, “Lithium for you – poison for us”.
The protest was also attended by the president of the Oslobodjenje movement, Mladjan Djordjevic, who a few days ago pointed out the problems and harmful consequences of this project in the media, explaining that Serbia will be left with “destroyed environment in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, as well as seven billion tons of toxic tailings. ”
Representatives of Rio Tinto left the offices before the beginning of the protest, refusing to talk to the gathered citizens.