Serbia | Mihajlović: Rio Tinto has so far paid Serbia around 13 million dinars on the basis of the research fee
The Minister of Mining and Energy of Serbia, Zorana Mihajlović, said today that Rio Sava Exploration, a subsidiary of Rio Rinto, has so far paid around 13 million dinars to the state of Serbia for geological research, and that the exploitation fee would depend on the amount of exploited mineral jadarite.Mihajlovic told Beta that the fee for the use of resources and reserves of mineral raw materials is regulated by the Law on Fees for the Use of Public Goods.

Rio Tinto has so far paid 13,034,650 dinars to the state of Serbia for geological research, and financial obligations based on exploitation rights depend on the amount of exploited ore, which can be specified only when the company, after obtaining the necessary approvals, starts exploitation through quarterly reports express the amount of ore that has been exploited, “said Mihajlovic.

She pointed out that there is no agreement between the state of Serbia and its institutions with Rio Sava Exploration, or with any other company for the exploitation of jadarite ore.
Mihajlovic said that Serbia has an obligation to respect legal regulations, just as every potential holder of research or exploitation has an obligation to fulfill the prescribed legal conditions in order to be able to apply for any of the rights in the field of geology and mining.

“Specifically, a study was prepared for the ‘Jadar’ project, which verified the reserves of lithium and boron in the amount of 158,647,256 tons of ore, which was preceded by geological research conducted by Rio Sava Exploration in accordance with approvals issued since 2004. “, said Mihajlović.

She added that at the request of the residents of Gornji Nedeljice, the “Jadar” project was taken care of and that it is crucial for all further decisions regarding the project to complete studies on its impact on the environment, based on which citizens will be able to give their attitude, when all the facts are known.

When asked whether it is logical for experts to hire experts for the Environmental Impact Study, and not the state, Mihajlović said that the Ministry of Mining and Energy, according to the current legislation, does not have the possibility to determine economic entities and design organizations that will work on investment and technical documentation. .

“The competent ministries, through the control function, give their consent to the submitted project documentation and the Environmental Impact Study. In the specific case of ‘Jadar’, the Ministry of Environmental Protection gives consent, ie assesses whether the environmental impact study has adequately considered all stakeholders.” , said Mihajlović.

She pointed out that not everyone can do all the studies, because the investment-technical documentation can be done by companies or institutions that have relevant experience and appropriate licenses, in order to meet all the standards required for such projects.

Answering the question whether the Government of Serbia will condition the opening of the mine and the exploitation permit, if the Environmental Impact Study shows that there will be no damage, Rio Tinto will bring a factory for the production of electric cars, Mihajlovic said that locating the factory for battery production. electric car factories in Serbia meant greater added value of the “Jadar” project.

Locating a battery factory as well as an electric car factory in Serbia would mean greater added value of the ‘Jadar’ project in relation to the exploitation and processing of ore and much greater economic effects, but the most important for the project decision are study results and citizens’ attitudes. “, said Mihajlović.

The decision to open the mine, she said, will depend, as is already known, on the results of the Environmental Impact Assessment Study, as well as the attitude of citizens, when all studies are completed and the public is informed of all the facts.

Asked in which disputed cases arbitration is possible, what exactly does it mean, because the company Rio Sava Exploration is registered in Great Britain with which an agreement on investment protection was signed, Mihajlovic said that all approvals held by that company were issued within the Ministry’s competence. mining and energy and approved on the basis of the Law on Mining and Geological Research and the Law on General Administrative Procedure and are final in the administrative procedure.

“In other words, all holders of approval are informed by the instruction on legal remedy, as an integral part of the decision, that the decision is final and that an administrative dispute can be initiated against it by a lawsuit before the Administrative Court in Belgrade within 30 days. in the process of issuing approvals, “said Mihajlovic.

When asked how much money Rio Tinto has invested in the research so far, Mihajlović said that from 2004-2020. year, the total investment in the project “Jadar” amounted to 209.11 million US dollars.

According to her, the Ministry of Mining and Energy has no official information on when and whether Germany will start exploiting its lithium reserves.

Answering the question what the resignation of the acting director of the Electric Power Industry of Serbia (EPS) Milorad Grcic means, if he still sits at the head of the largest domestic company, Mihajlovic said that the acting director of that public company is responsible for his business.

“The acting director of EPS is responsible for its operations, but the system is run by production directors who are directly in charge of each power plant. At the moment, the most important task is stabilization in the field of electricity production, which EPS is supported by the state and other entities in the energy system, “Mihajlovic said.

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