Serbian PM: Rio Tinto finished, foreign organizations hypocritical


Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic told reporters on Thursday that the government revoked all plans and permits for Rio Tinto’s Jadar lithium mine project and attacked what she said was the hypocrisy of foreign organizations that have allegedly been financing environmental protests against the project.

“All administrative acts linked to Rio Tinto, that is to Rio Sava, have been annulled, all permits, decisions and everything else. We never had contracts as we said several times before,” Brnabic said, specifying that the acts include the decree on a spatial plan for the mine area as well as the Working Group for the implementation of the Jadar project. According to Brnabic, all the demands made at the environmental protests over the past few months have been met and “an end put to Rio Tinto in Serbia”.

Savo Manojlovic’s Kreni-Promeni Initiative said that their demand for a moratorium on the mining of lithium had not been met.

“This means that everything connected to the Jadar project and Rio Tinto is finished,” she said, offering all documents to environmental organizations immediately. Brnabic recalled that Rio Tinto has been present in Serbia since 2004 with research permits, before the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) came to power.

Brnabic claimed that Savo Manojlovic, one of the leaders of the environmental organizations protesting against Rio Tinto, confirmed that their demands were met but called him an illiterate liar because of his statement that the president hadn’t verified the initiative to revoke Rio Tinto’s permits which was submitted to parliament.

The Prime Minister went on to attack foreign organizations which she claims financed environmental protests against Rio Tinto. She said that she doesn’t have the words to describe the hypocrisy of the foreigners financing the environmental organizations opposing the opening of the Rio Tinto company’s mine and their protests, adding that the biggest financiers of the protests were from the US, Great Britain, Germany and Austria such the Rockefeller Foundation, USAID, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, British Council and Heinrich Bell foundation.

She said that she discussed the activities of those organizations with several ambassadors and added that the organizations were in Serbia not just to finance environmental organizations but also to set them up, organize and connect them as well as finance the protests. “Even that would not be a problem if we didn’t have the hypocrisy of the financiers of the protests attacking companies from their countries which we have to defend and grow weaker politically. Is that the game we’re playing,” she said.