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Serbia analyses the future of its copper company Bor

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In Serbia, mainly small mines and quarries were privatized. Larger mining complexes, such as copper mine company RTB Bor are still waiting for bidders.

Some of the existing mines in Serbia, RTB Bor and Farmakom’s Lece and Zajača, are facing major problems due to debts incurred on various basis. However, RTB Bor has no obligation to pay its debts before the completion of the restructuring process. This mining giant remained in state’s ownership, after three unsuccessful attempts of privatization.

However, companies Freeport McMoran and Chilean Codelco, which already collaborate on projects within the Bor basin, show interest in further investments, which leaves room for the possibility that this giant can survive without entering into new attempt of privatization.

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Although in the previous six years RTB recorded growth of revenues, the key problem remains its significant debt, which in the meantime increased due to investments in the construction of a new smelter and sulfuric acid plant, the modernization of mining equipment and reconstruction of existing facilities.

After decomposing of the holding company RTB Bor Group and privatization of its subsidiaries, the company operates as a unified system with four main companies: the Mining and Smelting basin Bor – the parent company, Copper Mines Bor – subsidiary, Copper Mine Majdanpek – subsidiary, Smelter and refinery of copper – subsidiary.

Recently in RTB a new sulfuric acid plant started operating. It is the result of cooperation with the Canadian company “SNC Lavalin”, which was the main contractor, and the general contractor of the entire project of the new smelter.

From this company say that by modernizing the smelter in Bor, the emission of pollutants in air, water and soil will be below the statutory values, while at the same time, sulfur dioxide and copper will be utilized 98 percent, which will meet the valid environmental standards in Serbia and the European Union. According to the words of General Director Blagoje Spasovski, for RTB to increase the production in its mines, a strategic partnership is necessary for the opening of Cerovo, Čoka Marina and Bor River. The preparation of tender is underway and major global companies have already appeared, showing interest in a strategic partnership. RTB Bor is expected to come out from the restructuring process, after which it will become a single enterprise.

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