Jadar Valley, Serbia
From Yes to life No to Mining global network ‘On the Frontlines of Lithium Extraction’
In 2004 Rio Tinto discovered lithium and borate deposits in the fertile valley of the Jadar river in west Serbia. Since then nothing much has been heard in public as the company quietly continued the research.
At the end of 2019 the first drill holes for the research of the tailing waste area were made in Radjevina, neighboring region of the Jadar valley, which triggered concerns of the local community. At the same time, in December 2019 the public debate for the adoption of the spatial plan was held but the local community was not properly informed, so the Spatial plan was approved in February 2020.
The Spatial plan is illegitimate in many ways: the majority of the local community was not informed of it, the project was not finalized at the moment (and still isn’t as for the May 2021) and the ore reserves weren’t declared.
Based on such illegitimate plan the company continues the research, together with government institutions renames the agricultural land into construction land without owners’ consent (who suffer damage due to it) and starts buying off properties on the location of the planned mine threatening owners that if they don’t comply to sell their properties, they will be eventually taken away in the expropriation process even though the public interest was never declared for this project.
As we can see, the basic human rights to be properly informed and make decisions concerning our future have not been respected. People’s lives, Rights of Nature and cultural heritage have been completely ignored and neglected for the sake of profit.
The local initiative that opposes the project demands for the abolition of the illegitimate Spatial plan and the permanent moratorium on lithium mines.
At the moment three different companies are researching lithium across the country as we face the mining boom.
We don’t want Nature and cultural heritage to be harmed and destroyed by harmful projects such as the Jadar project. Aware that green mining doesn’t exist and that lithium demand is everything but justified in the sense of climatic changes we are working on stopping this project hoping that this will help all other regions in Serbia to be saved from the harmful effects of unnecessary extractivism.
Knowing that the only true change is the systematic change which rests on education, our task is not only to stop this one project but to advocate for the Rights of Nature, the Right to Say No and inform local communities of what extractivism really is.
In the century where Water and Food have strategic value we firmly say No to Mine, Yes to Life.