Mon. May 23rd, 2022

“All decisions (related to the lithium project) and all licenses have been annulled,” Brnabic told reporters after a government meeting.

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Picture for read more article 'Why thousands of Serbs have met against Rio Tinto and the government'

“As far as the Jadar project is concerned, this is a conclusion.”

Earlier this week, Rio had pushed the timeline for first production from Jadar by one year to 2027, citing delays in key approvals.

Rio Tinto said it was “extremely concerned” about Serbia’s decision and was reviewing its legal basis.

The company committed to the project just last year when global miners pushed into the metals needed for the green energy transition, including lithium, which is used to make batteries for electric vehicles.

Ms Brnabic accused Rio Tinto of providing insufficient information to communities about the project.

In a statement, Rio said “it had always worked in accordance with” Serbian laws.

Thousands of people blocked roads last year in protest of the government’s support for the project, demanding Rio Tinto leave the country and forcing the local municipality to scrap a plan to allocate land for the facility.

Environmental protesters are blocking the main road in Belgrade and several cities in Serbia to protest a controversial project by mining giant Rio Tinto.

Source: AFP


Djokovic, who returned to Serbia this week after his removal from Australia, spoke in support of “clean air” in an Instagram story post in December with the caption for a photo of the protests, which was published by the digital sports platform The Bridge.

Serbia’s populist ruling coalition, led by the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), had initially shown support for lithium and copper mining, an attitude that made it come under fire and helped erode the comfortable majority the party had by a vote in 2020.

“We listen to our people and it is our job to protect their interests, even when we think differently,” Brnabic said Thursday.

The SNS-led coalition is expected to hold parliamentary and presidential elections on April 3, although the date has not yet been officially confirmed by President Aleksandar Vucic.

Earlier this month, Brnabic said Rio’s Jadar development would likely be put on hold at least until after the election.

“A compromise is likely to be reached after the election so that there can be a renegotiation of royalties or value sharing,” said a Rio Tinto shareholder, who declined to be named.

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