"Rio Tinto" and Canadian "Dundee Precious Metals", which have both research and concession rights, will give up geological researches at several locations in Serbia.
The State Secretary within the Ministry of Energy and Mining, Radivoje
Milanović, confirmed that the Canadians had sent the letter to explain that
they would give up their further search for copper and gold deposits on Crni
Vrh mountain, in the vicinity of Bor, at concession fields "Tilva
njagra" and "Čoka kupjatra", while the research would be resumed
at the location of "Čoka kuruga".
- People from "Rio Tinta" told us that they might give up researches in mine "Piskanje", but we haven’t received any written confirmation yet – says Milanović.
He points out that a five-member commission will be formed and that it will include representatives of the ministries of finance, economy and mining, as well as two representatives of the Canadian company. Milanović says that these ministries have already been informed in order to have enough time to delegate the members and to meet soon. The main task of the commission will be to make the list of all property built in by the concessionaires, so that it could be taken over by the state.
- The talks should not take much time because there was no exploitation, and the data collected from all previous researches will stay at Serbia’s disposal. It is likely that the companies that used to be interested in the deposits on Crni Vrh mountain will contact us soon – says Milanović.
Unofficially, these companies justify renunciation by saying that the
deposits are poor on the surface and that the real wealth lies in the depths. It
is not clear whether insufficiently good results from the field were the only
reason, but financial crisis and huge drop in prices of ores most certainly
contributed to the decision of these companies to leave Serbia.
"Rio Tinto" has announced the possibility of renunciation because, according to the information provided by this company, the boron ore deposits, of which reserves were estimated to 7.5m tons, did not come up to their expectations.
It was expected that “Baljevac” mine would take the place of Ibar’s mines in a way, and "Rio Tinto" was supposed to invest 120-130m USD in opening of the mine and in the unit for refining boric acid.
That investment was significant for the underdeveloped area because it promised to prevent the population from moving out.
By the way, "Rio Tinto" announced on December 10, 2008, that it would dismiss 14,000 workers from all around the world and that it would reduce investments because of the low demand for iron ore and other metals.