Rio Tinto has plans for second lithium mine in Serbia
After successful exploration of jadarite lithium ore near Loznica in Serbia, the company “Jadar Lithium” (Rio Tinto) intends to open another lithium mine away from the public eye, with the blessing of the Ministry of Mining and Energy but also local authorities.
We are already well aware that Rio Tinto is an extremely controversial company that operates on the world market with major problems related to environmental protection and environmental disasters. This company also reached the municipality of Pozega as “Jadar Lithium”, where, far from the eyes of the public, it plans to start conducting geological research of lithium, boron and the accompanying association of elements.
Fortunately in the accident, the association “Initiative for Pozega”, as soon as it learned about this plan, urgently informed the public, bearing in mind that it is a sensitive environmental problem.
A large number of surprised people from the Pozega area immediately spoke out, expressing their explicit opposition to this ecocide, the beginning of which was announced for April 17, 2021. This led to the emergence of numerous pieces of evidence about the illegal planning of Rio Tinto’s works, but also gave an opportunity to react before it was too late.
In addition to the harm to the environment, there are significant legal omissions for the implementation of the plan – the owners of the plots on which the works are planned, did not give consent to the said company to use their plots for research purposes. Therefore, it is not clear how they planned to use these plots, considering that the precondition for the start of works is the regulation of property-legal relations. In the figure below, the marked points represent the places where the research is planned.
An additional problem and at the same time a great shame is the blessing of the Ministry of Mining and Energy to start the works. On March 1 of the current year, the Ministry passed a decision approving the company “Jadar Lithium” to conduct geological research in the municipality of Pozega.
In that name, “Initiative for Pozega” will submit a request for delivery of a decision to the company “Jadar Lithium” approves the performance of works on geological research, the Geological Research Project and other accompanying documentation, in order to determine whether the law has been followed in the specific case, and to take further steps based on the insight into the documentation.
In addition to the Ministry, the local government also gave its blessing, but we are already used to that, so it is unnecessary to explain how and why – everything is crystal clear.
Despite that, local residents and residents of the municipality of Pozega, with the support of other municipalities and activists, will fight until further notice to prevent attempts to turn the village into an environment where normal life is impossible due to pollution.
Namely, the process of lithium exploitation, as a rule, leaves severe consequences for the environment (this segment of the problem was pointed out by the expert public during the public debate on the opening of a lithium mine in the vicinity of Loznica).
– Exploitation of lithium from jadarite ore, the only mineral in the world, without established and good exploitation practice, is a complex procedure of ore extraction and processing for the purpose of lithium extraction. The ore that would be extracted, after crushing, would be treated with concentrated sulfuric acid at a temperature of 250 degrees, which is also the most risky part in the process of exploitation of lithium from jadarite, because it is necessary to provide a large amount of water and energy.
– Evaporation of sulfuric acid, wastewater and tailings would permanently pollute not only the immediate surroundings, but also the wider area, bearing in mind that in this territory (villages of Pozega – Duskovci, Drazinovici, Velika Jezevica, Madjer, Gornja, Srednja and Donja Dobrinja , Papratiste, as well as in a village in the municipality of Kosjeric – Subjel) are watercourses that make up the upper basin of the West Morava, so that an ecological catastrophe threatens much of Serbia.
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