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Bosnia and Herzegovina grapples with Europe’s first lithium mine proposal

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The announcement of the commencement of a lithium mine in Lopare has sparked concern among citizens, activists, and experts in the region. Environmentalists and numerous experts have highlighted the potential dangers to both human life and nature associated with the opening of Europe’s first lithium mine. Although research indicating the rich presence of lithium in the Majevica mountain region connecting Lopare, Tuzla, and Čelić has long been completed, it was kept undisclosed to the public. With the revelation that a Swiss company might secure a concession for lithium mining in 2026, there is a growing resistance to such endeavors by foreign investors.

Opponents emphasize the importance of avoiding dependence on foreign companies that may leave the region environmentally devastated. The interconnected nature of nature, disregarding city or regional boundaries, means that adverse effects of a lithium mine would extend to neighboring cities like Tuzla, Čelić, Bijeljina, and Kalesija. Concerns revolve around the potential harm caused by lithium, including mutagenic effects and various cancers in humans, animals, and plants.

Drawing inspiration from the struggles against a lithium mine in Serbia two years ago, activists aim to support the aware citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina in preserving their natural resources and preventing the introduction of carcinogenic substances. They stress that nothing unites the region more than the shared land, air, and water.

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Expressing the urgency to resist this potential threat, the message calls for legal opposition and, if necessary, barricades. The unique nature of the proposed lithium mine in Europe is contrasted with existing mines in places like Australia, where the landscape turns into a desert with no life within hundreds of kilometers. In contrast, the mine in Bosnia and Herzegovina would impact agricultural areas, orchards, rivers, and Salt Mine, affecting the lives of several hundred thousand people in the surrounding municipalities and cities.

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