We must not allow a lithium mine near Loznica in Serbia, News
There are at least 4 reasons why the mine should not be open.
In the case of planning the launch of the jadarite mine near Loznica, investors and the state of Serbia should adhere to domestic and international regulations before pompous announcements, and ensure a healthy environment and safety of citizens.
Below we point out four important facts that we believe have been ignored by decision makers:
According to Article 6 of the Law on Mining and Geological Research it is prescribed that in the area which is a protected area of nature, a whole of cultural-historical and architectural significance, a tourist whole, a source of special importance for regional water supply and other protected areas, geological research and exploitation of reserves of mineral raw materials and geothermal resources may be approved only under conditions issued by the competent authorities and organizations for issuing conditions for spatial planning, nature protection and the environment, cultural heritage and other bodies and organizations responsible for the relevant area related to the protected area.
The village of Brezjak and the site of Paulje are the most important archaeological site from the Late Bronze Age in Serbia and one of the most important in the wider region of the Central Balkans. It is in this area that the opening of mines and the construction of tailings are planned. There are 50 large tumuli at this place, of which only 27 were explored by 2019. The site could undoubtedly, with certain investments, be a great tourist attraction of international importance.
Water is not a commercial product like others, but a natural heritage that must be preserved and respected as a significant resource. In river basins where water use may have transboundary impacts, the requirements for achieving environmental protection objectives are established by the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes. In that sense, all programs of measures should be established for the entire river basin district. The Republic of Serbia has ratified the mentioned convention, and since November 2010 it has become a signatory to the Convention. The opening of the jadarite mine would lead to a significant increase in the use and pollution of surface and groundwater. We do not know whether an agreement has been signed with Bosnia and Herzegovina, ie whether the neighboring country has been informed about a possible significant transboundary source of pollution?
Jadar is a small but unpredictable river that often floods. Floods and heavy rainfall can lead to tailings and other accompanying environmental disasters. This is exactly what happened to Jadar in 2014, and the locals are justifiably worried about their safety. As floods and other weather disasters have become more frequent in recent years, the formation of a large tailings pond in the Jadar Valley would be a real environmental time bomb. What solutions does the investor offer?
Has anyone done long-term socio-economic research of:
-the total profit currently generated by agricultural and other activities in the Adriatic Valley on an annual basis;
-total profits of the Republic of Serbia realized from the use of jadarite ore during the entire exploitation period;
-the total profit from agriculture (eg organic) and other activities that would be realized if the state would invest the same amount of funds for that purpose as it plans to invest in support of the opening of the mine?
The opinion of experts indicates that the ore rent in Serbia is very low, and the profitability of such projects with the use of limited ore resources is questionable. If we take into account the estimate that the value of lithium at this deposit is around 10 billion dollars, that according to the law, the ore rent is 5% and that the state takes an additional 15% profit, it is clear that this is not a saving project for our exhausted economy. In fact, that profit will not be enough to repair the consequences of soil and water pollution, especially not if the pollution of the Drina reaches other basins such as the Sava and the Danube.
Of particular concern are hidden dangers in the form of long-term threats to public health and safety that are difficult to predict and prevent. According to the Republic Directorate for Waters, and in the light of modern world aspirations, the largest investments in Serbia in the near future must be related to the collection, disposal and treatment of wastewater throughout the country.
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