Environment

Professor Ristić: Extracting lithium and boron from jadarite requires 1.100 tons of concentrated sulfuric acid per day

Professor Ristic Extracting lithium boron jadarite 1 100 tons concentrated sulfuric acid

Photo: RTS

Published

October 14, 2022

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Published:

October 14, 2022

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Comments:

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Professor at the Faculty of Forestry and Vice-rector of the University of Belgrade Ratko Ristić has warned of the risks from Rio Tinto’s formally halted project Jadar to the local biota and of devastating pollution of the Drina and Sava rivers. “Jadarite is a unique mineral, but it is the worst kind, which contains both lithium and boron. In order to extract lithium and boron, you need, according to Rio Tinto’s study, 1,100 tons of concentrated sulfuric acid per day, several dozen tons of explosives for underground exploitation”, he stated.

Proponents and opponents of Rio Tinto’s lithium mining and processing project in Serbia didn’t find any common ground. Members of the academic community participated in the first such debate hosted by public broadcaster RTS since protests against lithium exploration and mining started over two years ago. In the meantime, the Government of Serbia announced it would annul all permits, but activists are pointing to evidence almost on a daily basis that it didn’t keep its promise and that the company continued with its activities.

Lithium mines throughout the world are opened, as a rule, in deserts and uninhabited places – never in a densely populated area like the one for the proposed mine, near Loznica in western Serbia, Professor at the Faculty of Forestry and vice-rector of the University of Belgrade Ratko Ristić stressed.

Ristić: The authors of the biodiversity impact study from the Faculty of Biology concluded the project should be scrapped

“Jadarite is a unique mineral, but it is the worst kind, which contains both lithium and boron. In order to extract lithium and boron, you need, according to Rio Tinto’s study, 1,100 tons of concentrated sulfuric acid per day, several dozen tons of explosives for underground exploitation. Besides, according to Rio Tinto’s study, land subsidence is expected on 850 hectares,” he asserted. Ristić noted that the authors of the biodiversity impact study from the Faculty of Biology concluded the project shouldn’t go forward and explained it would devastate the biota.

“The area has underground reserves of the best water suitable for water supply in western Serbia. According to Rio Tinto’s study, one dump with a volume of ten million cubic meters is envisaged to be placed next to the rivers of Jadar and Korenita, and there is an extremely high risk of toxic substances leaking into the ground, polluting the underground water reserves and, if there are flash floods, of reaching the Jadar, Drina, Sava, and jeopardizing Šabac and Belgrade. Another dump is envisaged to be located on the Štavica creek, where a 17-meter high dam would be built, and several million kubic meters of waste would be dumped there,” Ristić said.

One dump is envisaged to be placed next to the rivers of Jadar and Korenita, and there is an extremely high risk of leaks of toxic substances

Ristić pointed to several similar environmental disasters in the world and in the region, highlighting the example of Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley mine in British Columbia in Canada. A dam breach in 2014 caused 25 million cubic meters of contaminated water and tailings to be spilled.

“All surface and groundwaters were polluted, water supply was jeopardized, biodiversity was wiped out. And no one is guilty, everything is legal,” Ristić added.

Comments (1)
Chas Dale / October 27, 2022

Wake up, were not ready for renewables / storage yet , concentrate on nuclear , not that I’m a fan but it’s better this green fiasco

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