The National Assembly of Serbia has seven days to verify citizens’ signatures from the people’s initiative to adopt a law on the prohibition of exploration and excavation of lithium and boron in Serbia, environmentalists said. Otherwise, activist group Kreni-promeni and the Association of Environmental Organizations of Serbia (SEOS) said they would submit an appeal to the Constitutional Court.
Environmentalists, SEOS, and Kreni-promeni gathered outside the National Assembly as it convened for its first session. They said they wanted to remind the members of parliament of their obligation to verify the petition against lithium and boron mining.
The new parliament has seven days to certify the petition with more than 38,000 signatures. The National Assembly must discuss a law proposal if at least 30,000 citizens support it.
The activists said they would turn to the Constitutional Court of Serbia if the parliament fails to verify the so-called people’s initiative.
Activists gave a seven-day deadline to the new assembly before they file a complaint with the Constitutional Court
Activists submitted the petition on June 18. The parliament is obligated to verify a people’s initiative within 30 days. Savo Manojlović from Kreni-promeni said it is only a formal move that takes 24 hours.
Scientific community against lithium mining
Dragana Đorđević from the environmental protection committee of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU) said it is a scientific fact that lithium mines harm the environment and people’s health. It is why lithium mines are built only in uninhabited places and deserts, she argued and added there are only seven or eight such facilities in the world. Đorđević asserted that local communities there are protesting against lithium exploitation.
More than ten lithium mining projects are under consideration in Serbia, Đorđević said and warned they would pollute groundwater and surface water and destroy the land.
Kokanović: The people’s initiative is the last form of the legal fight against the exploitation of lithium
The people’s initiative is the final phase of the legal fight against the exploitation of lithium, said Zlatko Kokanović from SEOS. Locals from the affected areas will not surrender and will not give up their demands even if the parliament does not pass the law, he added.