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Montenegro pressures Swiss company to address zinc mine project concerns

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It appears that the Montenegrin government has issued an ultimatum to Tara Resources, a Swiss company, regarding the Brskovo Zinc Mine project in Mojkovac. The government has given Tara Resources 60 days to address all deficiencies in the project. The Minister of Energy and Mining, Saša Mujovic, stated that the defects identified are believed to be systemic and challenging to rectify in the future. He expressed concerns about the safety of tailings disposal and mercury separation, emphasizing potential risks to public health.

The government is offering Tara Resources the option of mutual termination of the contract. This move comes amid strong opposition from environmental activists and local citizens who fear adverse effects on the environment and public health. The rehabilitation of the tailings pond after the closure of the old mine had already cost the state 10 million euros over two decades.

Tara Resources had taken over the project in 2018 with plans to revitalize the mine and make it one of the largest zinc mines in Europe, with a projected investment value of around 180 million euros. However, the civic initiative “Za zdravi Mojkovac” (For a healthy Mojkovac) has repeatedly appealed to the government to terminate the contract, citing concerns similar to those of a potential environmental catastrophe akin to the Chernobyl disaster.

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This development underscores the tensions between economic development interests and environmental and public health concerns in Montenegro, particularly in regions affected by industrial projects.

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