Europe will have to continue to order its lithium from China for the design of electric cars. In Serbia this Friday morning, the government put an end to the “Rio Tinto” project, ahead of the presidential elections, when the subject had raised a large part of the local population, concerned by the irreparable environmental damage of such an activity.
Behind this name, an international mining group, particularly established in Australia, and ready to make Serbia a European pole for the extraction of lithium. The white metal has been present in large quantities in the country since its discovery in 2006. But the latter will not be used, according to Prime Minister Ana Brnabic who spoke “de point final”.
The trend is more or less the same in several other European countries where the local populations do not fail to make their opposition heard. On the continent, the projects are numerous and all seek to make Europe sovereign so as not to depend on foreign imports. In Serbia, if Rio Tinto had launched its activities, lithium mining would have been at a high rate, with up to 1 million electric cars produced each year thanks to the resources of the site.
Belgrade, in Serbia, has become well aware of the anger of the inhabitants. In recent months, every weekend, large roadblocks blocked the main axes and highways. But the presidential elections could change everything and economic interests take the lead on populist measures of last resort.
Only two days ago, the multinational did not speak of abandoning the project but of simple delay. In one of its last press releases, it mentioned a delay due to the failure to obtain the local permit to begin the exploitation of the land. Euronews quoting local television, gave the date of 2027 before the start of the project and its investment of 2.1 billion euros.
“We have responded to all protesters’ demands and ended Rio Tinto’s presence in the Republic of Serbia. The project is buried (…) We are not afraid of Rio Tinto. We are here for our people and for our country. They can do whatever they think they should do. This is the final decision of the Government of the Republic of Serbia”, yet sought to reassure the government this morning.
Source From: Presse-Citron