Concerns about the Jadar project and its impact on rivers, News
The reason for the anxiety about the Jadar project comes from the not-so-distant past. From the tailings of the former mine Stolice into the Kostajnicka river, which flows into the Jadar, and then into the Drina, in 2014, heavy metals spilled and thus endangered the health of 15,000 people. In the village of Zajaca in 2011, children were diagnosed with elevated levels of lead in the blood.
The green light for the realization of the Jadar project was given to the mining company Rio Tinto in Serbia, because the state adopted the Spatial Plan for Special Purposes Jadar, according to which lithium and borate ore would be exploited on 293.9 square kilometers on the territory of Loznica and Krupanj. Vesna Prodanovic, director of the company “Rio Sava Exploration”, says that today there is no environmental challenge that cannot be solved.
For months now, the residents of Loznica and Krupanj have been talking about the damage that the lithium and borate mine could bring to that area. Protests against the construction of the lithium mine were started by the locals from the area of Gornji Jadar, and then the citizens of other places joined. They demand that all actions leading to the construction of the mine be stopped and say that they are dissatisfied with the communication with the representatives of the company “Rio Tinto” and with the state because they have not received concrete answers to questions related to environmental protection and health. people. The locals are also worried about what will happen to their farms, livestock farms and because of the tailings, because the land in the valley of the river Jadar, which is flooded and several times a year, is mentioned as a location. They also say that they have addressed all competent institutions and that they will continue with the protests until a final solution is reached. They also started the procedure of collecting signatures for the petition against the construction of the mine.
Vesna Prodanovic, director of the company “Rio Sava Exploration”, says that it is understandable that people are worried about rivers. According to her, the locals are worried because they do not have enough information. The General Manager of “Rio Sava Exploration” points out that the Jadar project is very complex. He says that it is not a project of a commercial facility, but that the ore body should have been examined, and analyzes of the existing condition and possible impacts on the environment should have been done.
“A preliminary feasibility study was made, which lasted almost 15 years. For a project of this type, it can last 20-30 years. Now we have entered the feasibility study phase in which we again do all the necessary studies that are a good basis and a high degree of security. to do all the necessary documentation “, explains Prodanovic.
He adds that at the end of this year, they should get approval for the next phase and collect the necessary building permits. The feasibility phase means that in this phase the project documentation should be done which will give a sufficient degree of security to start the construction phase. An environmental impact study is something that is especially important to the people who live in that area.
A small town is being built underground
“The mine is a serious plant. We are building literally a small town underground, an industrial plant and a landfill, but in today’s world, mining has changed. We plan to build this plant in a way that respects all environmental standards, both ours and the European Union’s. the plant could stand anywhere in the center of Europe, “the director emphasizes.
An invitation to citizens for dialogue
He points out that as a company, they are ready to talk to everyone and that they have established an open door system where people could come. As many as 450-500 people have already been informed and have had meetings with several associations and are inviting everyone to talk. A working group will be formed in Loznica to deal with how we will inform the local community about this project and how we will allocate funds intended for the local community to improve its work. An Ecology Committee is being formed, which will include representatives of local communities directly from the territory of the plant and beyond, “says Vesna Prodanovic. He adds that they must open a dialogue with citizens and sit at a table, present solutions, and all documentation will be available.