Anti-government protesters make way for an ambulance as they protest against laws on referendum and expropriation in Belgrade. Source: REUTERS.
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  • Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Serbia to protest again Rio Tinto’s (RIO) planned lithium mine in the region
  • Protestors also took aim at Zijin Mining’s copper and gold mine in the Balkan nation, arguing new laws in Serbia allowed the mines to go ahead
  • In order to quell the public unrest, which saw bridges and roads blocked, the Serbian Government has temporarily suspended the laws in question
  • Rio has committed $2.4 billion to developing the Jadar lithium-borates project in Western Serbia, with the asset still subject to regulatory approval
  • Ri Tinto rounded off the day of trading 0.94 per cent in the red, falling to $95.80

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Serbia to protest again Rio Tinto’s (RIO) planned lithium mine in the region.

The weekend protests were also arguing against Zijin Mining’s recently opened copper and gold mine in the Balkan nation.

Specifically, protestors argue the Serbian Government’s softening of two laws allow for mining projects to go ahead with little oversight.

The protests took place the last two weekends and saw thousands block key roads and bridges across Belgrade and other towns.

In order to quell the public unrest, President Aleksandar Vucic has temporarily suspended the law changes in question.

The first is referendum legislation approved last month that makes it more difficult for citizens to challenge polluting projects, and the second is a new expropriation law that makes it easier for the state to take private land.

In Serbia, a law passes by parliament needs to be signed off by the President to be enforced.

RIO is still awaiting licensing and regulatory approval for its Jadar lithium-borates project in Western Serbia — one of the largest greenfield lithium assets in the world.

The mining giant committed $2.4 billion in capital to the lithium project in July this year, as the demand for the electric vehicle battery material grows.

The miner had hoped to begin construction at Jadar in early 2022, with lithium carbonate from the mine to be sold from 2026.

Once production is fully ramped-up, Rio expects 58,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate, 160,000 tonnes of boric acid and 255,000 tonnes of sodium sulphate will be produced per annum.

Ri Tinto rounded off the day of trading 0.94 per cent in the red, falling to $95.80.

RIO by the numbers
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