Protest against Rio’s proposed lithium mine in Belgrade, Serbia. Source: Reuters
Market Herald logo

Subscribe

Be the first with the news that moves the market
  • Rio Tinto’s (RIO) US$2.4 billion (A$3.34 billion) Serbian lithium project contracts may be cut following last weekends protests and road blockades by environmental activists
  • According to sources, Rio’s involvement was part of an economic plan for the country, but environmentalists say the plan could cause irreversible damage to the region
  • Protesters have forced President Aleksandar Vucic into the light in the few months leading to his next presidential campaign
  • Despite political pressure, Rio Tinto ended the day trading up 2.28 per cent at $105.99 apiece

Rio Tinto’s (RIO) US$2.4 billion (A$3.34 billion) Serbian lithium project contracts may be cut following last weekends protests and road blockades by environmental activists.

RIO previously planned to build a mine in the Jadar Valley, near Loznica, but the local municipality has already scrapped the plan and reallocated the land.

According to sources, Rio’s involvement was part of an economic plan for the country, but environmentalists say the plan could cause irreversible damage to the region.

In response, RIO stated all projects would meet the European Union’s environmental standards.

Protesters have forced President Aleksandar Vucic into the light in the few months leading to his next presidential campaign.

“We have worked in a transparent way, we have listened to the people,” Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said but highlighted the financial repercussions of annulling RIO’s contract.

“We have neither brought Rio Tinto in, nor have we made promises, nor have we done anything that the people did not know about,” Ms Branbic said, citing the government was accepting environmentalists requests.

She said President Vucic had highlighted the continuation of the mine would depend on the outcome of environmental studies and a referendum.

Protesters have asked policymakers to prohibit lithium extraction by all companies, not just Rio Tinto.

Despite political pressure, Rio Tinto ended the day trading up 2.28 per cent at $105.99 apiece.

More From The Market Herald

" Hydrogen industry marks milestone with world first shipment of hydrogen

The Australian hydrogen industry just marked a milestone with the world's first shipment of liquefied hydrogen…
Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Source: APP

" Australia and PNG sign $580m agreement for PNG port infrastructure

The Australian Government signs an agreement with Papua New Guinea for $580 million worth of upgrades…

" Serbia scraps $3.3b Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) lithium mine following weeks of protests

The Serbian government has this week bowed to local protestors and pulled the plug on Rio…

" Post-Delta jobs boom sees unemployment reach pre-GFC lows

Over 65,000 Australians found jobs in the first two weeks of December as unemployment shrank to…