Pro-regime media: Serbia to end deals with Rio Tinto; New protest on Thursday


The state Tanjug news agency reported on Wednesday that Serbia's Government would terminate its cooperation with the Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto on Thursday.

Several other pro-government media earlier reported that Prime Minister Ana Brnabic would address the public on Thursday at 6 pm. That would be an hour before a new environmental protest scheduled for Thursday at 7 pm.

The protest was called for on Tuesday, after activists of the ‘Go–Change’ Initiative and its leader Savo Manojlovic were verbally attacked outside Serbia’s Parliament while submitting an urgent request to verify the people’s Initiative to ban lithium mining in the country.

Earlier, the activists announced a big rally in Belgrade on Saturday. They say lithium mining is not the only environmental issue in Serbia, and pledge to fight against all other companies that have been polluting the country.

The Blic daily quoted its source that Brnabic would say ‘good bye’ to the company.

On Tuesday, Rio Tinto said it was slowing down works’ further dynamics because they had not yet received a decision to exploit lithium. On the same day, Brnabic said the Government did not want to decide on that, nor would it do anything else without consulting the local communities. „At this moment, the „Jadar „project is finished for me, „Brnabic added.

related news



Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic and the Government tried to appease environmental protests that blocked the country during several weekends by promising Rio Tinto would not mine lithium in western Serbia before a study on its effects on nature and health was done.

But Vucic also said Rio Tinto would not move anywhere and suggested a year-long moratorium. He also said that if he kicked Rio Tinto out, Serbia would have to pay a billion euros in compensations for the company’s work so far.

The protesters, however, were not satisfied with promises and ideas and demanded a 20-year-long moratorium on lithium mining.

Serbia holds presidential, early parliamentary, Belgrade and some local elections on April 3.

Vucic and his ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) suffered a mild blow on Sunday when despite their call, only some 30 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot in the referendum on Constitutional changes in the judiciary.

The result was in favour of the authorities, but most voters in Belgrade, the northern and southern cities of Novi Sad and Nis and some other towns, as well as in a part of the diaspora, said no to the changes.

Vucic said he was happy with the outcome but added that many of those who voted no were from his party and reiterated he would not lead it anymore.