Source: Beta/Tanjug | Tuesday, 28.12.2021.| 15:12
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BRNABIC: Serbia Cannot Say “No” to Rio Tinto Now

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Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic has stated today that, according to the Law on Mining and Energy, Serbia is not able to say “no” to a company which has carried out explorations and which plans to invest in the exploitation of ores.

– When you give exploration rights to an investor, if they invest their money and find nothing, they can abandon the project, without anyone being owed anything. If they do find something and fulfill the further conditions in line with the laws, then, under the law, you can’t say no – Brnabic told the press at the City Assembly of Belgrade.

She pointed out that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic was clear when he said that the “Jadar” project of Rio Tinto, which pertains to lithium site explorations in the Loznica area, would depend on the environmental impact assessment and the public review.

– If, under the law, the environmental impact study says that you can’t do it, because it will negatively impact the environment, then you can abandon the project, because that is the key document, but we haven’t even got to that study – Brnabic said.

She said that, if the environmental impact study showed that it is alright, but the citizens said no at the referendum, “arbitration is likely”.

– If the citizens say no at the referendum, that we as a state say no, and what happens afterwards, I really don’t know at the moment – Brnabic said.

She pointed out that Serbia obliged as a country in 2004 when the first exploration permit was issued, because Rio Tinto invested money at the time, and added that she believed that Rio Tinto had invested around RSD 400 million in Serbia.

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