Nearly 40,000 people in Serbia have signed a petition against lithium mining project

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The petitions came after Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said the Rio Tinto project was “unquestionable” and had “strong government support”. Also, according to the portal, at the beginning of April, the Ministry of Mining and Energy made a decision that Rio Tinto, except in Loznica, can start with the exploitation of lithium in the area of Dobrinja, in the vicinity of Pozega.

A European petition against the proposed lithium mine in Loznica has been launched on the website, which has so far been signed by almost 40,000 people. With this number of signatories, this petition should reach the European Parliament.

“We call on you to ban ore mining and metal processing in the Jadra Valley in Serbia. In particular, we demand that you cancel the proposed lithium mine Rio Tinto in Loznica. We demand that you protect biodiversity, fertile soil, agricultural villages and rich cultural areas. We refuse to allow the Government to destroy the Jadar Valley on our behalf. We reject water source poisoning. The process of separating chemically stable lithium from jadarite ore involves the use of concentrated sulfuric acid. The process would take place 20 km from the Drina River and would use 300 cubic meters of water every hour, while the chemically purified water would be returned to the Jadar River,” the petition reads.

The ministry told B92 that the company Rio Tinto had completed geological research at the Jadar location near Loznica and verified the reserves of boron and lithium.

“When it comes to geological research near Pozega, the company Jadar Lithium d.o.o. from Belgrade has a permit for geological research in Dobrinja, but no approval has yet been given regarding the exploitation of lithium and the construction of mines. In considering all future steps in this project, the priority will be to ensure compliance with all regulations concerning environmental protection and the highest European standards in this area,” they say in the competent ministry.

Geological research of lithium (except for the Jadar project, where they are conducted by the company Rio Tinto), is in the initial stage, in which, they say, it is not possible to assess whether there are economically significant quantities in the area for possible lithium exploitation.

“We note that more than 95% of approved geological research of metallic mineral resources does not end with the verification of reserves and thus the opening of mines,” they point out.

The Ministry of Mining and Energy will, through the geological inspection, inspect the exploration works in the Dobrinja exploration field near Pozega, as well as in all other places where the exploration will be conducted, in order to ensure that the activities are carried out in accordance with the project, respecting all measures when it comes to environmental protection, and protect the interests of the local population.



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