Rio Tinto reacted to an N1 story, accusing the station of waging what the company claims is a “campaign based on lies and misinformation”.
N1 asked opposition politicians about the opening of a lithium mine in western Serbia’s fertile farmland. The story said that judging by the reactions of those opposition officials, the opening of a lithium mine is not an acceptable option. Rio Tinto has been exploring the Jadar area, testing for lithium over the past few years but the plans to allow the opening of a mine were stopped when the Serbian government decided to alter spatial plans for the area following weeks of mass protests. Opposition officials have alleged that Rio Tinto’s Serbian subsidiary has continued exploration on land that it bought from local farmers.
Rio Tinto said in its reaction to the recent story that the conclusion was wrong, adding that N1 was being uncritical and not including experts on various fields and was “waging a campaign based on lies and misinformation”. N1 did a number of stories on its portal and TV inerviewing scientists who explained the possible consequences of the exploration and opening of the mine in detail.
The company said that it’s Serbian subsidiary Rio Sava Exploration called for an open dialogue among experts and opponents of its Jadar project based on facts “in order to avoid further misleading the public”. “Spreading misinformation and groundless claims prevents a public discourse on the project which, if realized, will operate for decades, based on facts and offering valid information,” a statement said.
According to Rio Tinto, the claims by the Popular Movement, Green-Left Front and Democratic Party that mining lithium would benefit only foreign companies and leave the population of Serbia a wasteland and that the company won’t abide by environmental standards are untrue.
It said the 2.5 billion Dollar Jadar project would be the biggest greenfield invest in Serbia’s recent history and would bring some 180 million Euro a year to the budget with 1,300 jobs. It said that all the work done to date was in line with Serbia’s law on mining and geological exploration.
Rio Tinto added that the speculation about corruption voiced by Democratic Party deputy leader Branimir Jovancicevic are just an attempt to damage its reputation. It confirmed his claim that sulphuric acid would be used but denied that it would pollute the ground.