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In western Serbia, a strong movement against Rio Tinto’s jadarite mining project near Loznica is demanding a ban on the exploration and mining of lithium and boron. Activists warned that if the Government of Serbia does not comply, they will radicalize their resistance through railway blockades. The protests have attracted participants from Jadar, Loznica, and various cities in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly those from areas with existing or planned mining projects. The event was organized by the local group Ne damo Jadar along with Marš sa Drine, Suvoborska greda, and other associations under the Association of Environmental Organizations of Serbia (SEOS).

Marijana Petković, representing Ne damo Jadar, highlighted that activists found evidence of toxic exploration drilling fluid being disposed of at the city landfill. On July 1, the government will receive a formal demand to ban lithium and boron exploration and mining nationwide. The movement has vowed to start blockades on railroads and other key points if the demand is not met within 40 days. This follows a 2022 petition with over 38,000 signatures, which the National Assembly ignored despite being legally obliged to discuss it.

Professor Ljiljana Tomović from the University of Belgrade emphasized that stopping the exploitation of jadarite is crucial to prevent damage to the flora, fauna, habitats, and ecosystems in the Jadar Valley. Similarly, Professor Slobodan Vukosavić from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Belgrade warned of the risk of wastewater contamination from the mine affecting the Mačva area. He stressed the importance of water amid climate change and suggested future conflicts would be over water, not lithium.

Activists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, facing similar mining threats, joined the protest in Loznica. Adi Selman from Karton revolucija spoke passionately about protecting the Gornje Nedeljice, Loznica, the Drina and Sava rivers, and other threatened areas. Dragan Simović, a farmer from Srednja Dobrinja, highlighted the adverse effects of mining in other regions like Bor and Majdanpek and urged for intensified protests and a ban on mining.

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