Rio Tinto denies it is going ahead with Jadar project, activists voice disbelief

Reuters/ Patrick T. Fallon/File Photo

Rio Tinto denied on Wednesday that it was going ahead with the Jadar lithium mine project that was halted by the Serbian government.

“We want to say that Rio Tinto respects the government decision to annul the acts needed to realize the Jadar project,” the company said in a statement following claims by the SEOS environmental organization that Rio Tinto and Bechtel were going ahead with the mine project. SEOS (Alliance of Ecological Organizations) published a document earlier which it said confirms its claims that the Jadar project is going ahead.

“We operate in line with Republic of Serbia regulations and all our current activities continue on accepted obligations. This includes completing the internal feasibility study which requires the collection of project data from relevant companies to make sure that the feasibility study is in line with technical standards and environmnetal standards,” it said and added that the feasibility study was being drawn up with Bechtel.

SEOS said earlier that Rio Tinto was looking for a partner to draw up final plans and for a waste water processing project.

An activist from another environmental organization said that Rio Tinto is doing things that show it has no intention of abandoning the project. Ljiljana Bralovic of the Suvoborksa Greda organization told N1 that there is an increasing amount of information showing that the project has been halted temporarily. She said that the government revoked its documents on the project because of the April elections.

Bralovic wondered why Rio Tinto would go ahead with a feasibility study for a project that would not be realized. According to her, the company is continuing to buy land in the area where the lithium mine was planned to be built.