The Jadar project: Investment of the century or environmental catastrophe?

 Although the Jadar project has been dubbed as the investment of the century, the residents of Loznica and surrounding places are concerned that the Rio Tinto Company, responsible for the project implementation, will “envelop the entire area in black smoke”.

Experts from this Anglo-Australian company have conducted many years of research on the mineral called the Jadarite (sodium-lithium-borosilicate) and found it in the basin of the Jadar River in Serbia, from which it takes its name.

In February this year, Prime Minister Ana Brnabić visited Rio Tinto’s site and said that this effort is important not only for Loznica but for the whole country. On that occasion, she expressed the hope that the construction of the chemical plant will begin at the end of next year.

However, many Loznica residents disagree with this idea, arguing that an environmental catastrophe awaits them if it happens.

Miodrag Stanisic from Osecina says that excavations in the mine will increase the pollution in the area, and that there will be more harm than good from the mine. He adds that he participated in the protests against the construction of the chemical plant here.

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“We are about fifteen kilometres from the future mine. In the last year and a half, the representatives of Rio Tinto conducted research here three or four times a week. The excavations are planned in the basin of the Kolubara and Korenita rivers and will be 40 metres long. This in practice means that the waste will be disposed of on the surface,” Stanisic warns.

Stanisic points out that the technology of mining the ore is quite dirty, and the possibility of an environmental accident is very high. He adds that many citizens are uninformed, which is why they are silent about this.

“I am an economist by profession and I think the effects (of the project implementation) will be very negative. The miners are poorly paid and I don’t think the area will benefit from that,” said Stanisic.

Vladan Jakovljević shares Stanisic’s views and says that because his family of five was not able to work in Loznica, he started beekeeping.

“A black and poisonous cloud hovers over my bees and my existence, and if the bees disappear, the location population will not fare well. I am not a member of any political party and my opposition to mining is a personal stance in the interest of preserving the quality of water, soil and air,” Jakovljevic adds.

Marija Alimpić from the Protecting Jadar and Radjevina Association recalls that in 2004, Rio Tinto discovered deposits of borate and lithium which are considered critical raw materials. According to her, during the 15 years of research, the company has kept the technical, environmental and social impacts of the project secret. The company says that the jadarite is as a unique mineral and claims to have developed special processing techniques, although no one has seen or heard anything about it.

(Nova, 22.10.2020)




This post is also available in: Italiano

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