Rio Tinto’s jadarite mining project in western Serbia is minimally financially profitable

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The project of jadarite mining in western Serbia by the company Rio Tinto could not only be disastrous for the environment, but it is also very likely minimally financially profitable, that is – economically unjustified.
Marko Vujic from the Center for Environmental Policy at the Faculty of Political Sciences told that Rio Tinto’s investment would increase the number of jobs in Serbia by only 0.1 percent, while the budget profit would be less than one percent of our annual GDP.
“Serbia has been in a paradoxical situation for years, so that due to a little heat, mostly personal, we leave our own rivers, forests, fields, and now entire parts of Serbia,” Vujic said.
From credible colleagues from natural and technical sciences, Vujic added, we learn that Rio Tinto would use large amounts of sulfuric acid at temperatures of 300 degrees celsius in the process of exploitation of jadarite, which can be reduced only by using the toxic gas silicon fluoride.
Shamefully low ore rent
Vujic emphasizes that, before each negotiation with Rio Tinto, the ore rent should have been raised, which is “devastatingly the lowest in Europe”, “for this type of ore it is a miserable four percent”, and that the paint should have been brought at least to the level of Croatia where 10 percent or Slovenia where you can earn income on the basis of ores with a compensation of 18 percent of the ore rent to the state.
By the way, “Rio Tinto” did announce significant investments for Serbia, already this year. First, when it comes to the “Jadar” project, the company “Rio Tinto” plans to invest more than 100 million dollars in environmental protection, and close to 40 million dollars in a water treatment plant.
After the meeting with President Vucic, the company stated that by the end of 2021, a total of 450 million dollars will be invested in the “Jadar” project and in geological research, development of processing technology, studies and project preparation.
Then where is the problem?
It may sound dramatic, but the question is: even if it earns it, who will spend this money? Because, if the predictions of environmentalist and activists are realized, a wave of exodus of the population could start from Serbia due to the terrible disturbance of the environment.
The first examples of this scenario appear: Five locals from the vicinity of Loznica received compensation from Rio Tinto after groundwater was spilled on their crops during the investigation. The laboratory report, which BIRN had access to, shows that the leaked water contains elevated concentrations of boron, sodium and other chemical elements.
Nova.rs recently spoke with four prominent scientists from the field related to mining and environment, who were very explicit – Rio Tinto should not work in this region of Serbia.
“At the moment, the biggest problem is arsenic. At least that’s what it looks like according to the Strategic Impact Assessment that was done. Arsenic is a carcinogen. If arsenic appears in watercourses, there is a possibility of malignant diseases,” said for our portal the professor of the Faculty of Medicine Petar Bulat, commenting on the “Jadar” project.
He adds that the other elements mentioned are carcinogenic: cadmium, chromium, nickel, Nova reports.