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Lopare municipality demands from Republic of Srpska to reject lithium project

lopare lithium petition protest ban

Photo: Municipality of Lopare

Published

February 23, 2024

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Published:

February 23, 2024

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Head of the Municipality of Lopare Rado Savić has submitted to the National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska a petition signed by 3,711 citizens against the opening of a lithium mine in Majevica mountain. Lawmakers also received the local declaration against opening a mine that would exploit lithium, boron, sodium, strontium, potassium and the accompanying group of elements on the territory of the municipality.

Lopare Mayor Rado Savić said they are “asking and begging” the members of parliament to adopt the declaration, arguing that the majority of the population is against the mine.

The Republic of Srpska is one of the two entities making up Bosnia and Herzegovina. The other one is the Federation of BiH.

The reason, in his words, is the harm it could bring to the population, the environment, and rivers, Nezavisne novine reported.

The local authority isn’t aware of the effects of any similar project and the proposed investment may affect agriculture investments, according to the mayor.

Savić: There is great fear among citizens

There is great fear among citizens because there are no such mines in Europe, Savić said.

The petition to the National Assembly was submitted just a few weeks after officials in the Brčko District in Bosnia and Herzegovina declared they are against lithium mining on their territory.

Of note, investors have expressed interest in exploration in several locations including in Bijeljina, Brčko, Lopare, Ugljevik and Zvornik. The sites are across the Drina river from the location that Rio Tinto is planning for its controversial Jadar project in Loznica in Serbia.

Swiss company Arcore is interested in building the mine

Rado Savić said the municipality is asking the National Assembly to obligate the Government of the Republic of Srpska to reject lithium.

The petition was launched on February 15, when citizens gathered at a protest in Lopare. Swiss company Arcore is interested in building the mine. It has conducted research for a few years with approval from the entity authorities.

The company said in October that it found lithium deposits worth about USD 10 billion on the territory of the municipality of Lopare.

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