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The Jadar Project is developing more rapidly in the past three years than in the previous 15 years, say representatives of Marš sa Drine

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Marš sa Drine movement and the law firm Đorđević have analyzed the business data of Rio Tinto’s subsidiary in Serbia.

“There is a trend of increasing spending on the Jadar Project. The conclusion is that the Jadar project has developed significantly faster over the past three years than in the previous 15-17 years since the company’s inception,” said lawyer Sreten Đorđević at a press conference held by the Marš sa Drine movement on May 15 in Belgrade.

Marš sa Drine movement and the Đorđević law firm presented an analysis of the operations of Rio Sava Exploration, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto responsible for the Jadar Project in Serbia. These are publicly available data that Rio Sava provided to the Tax Administration of the Republic of Serbia in its annual report for 2023, including numerical data, accompanying documentation, and explanations provided by Rio Sava along with the APR report.

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“There are no indications that the Jadar Project is being halted or suspended. On the contrary, it is developing with undiminished intensity, and the majority of funds have been spent in the last three years,” Đorđević stated, adding:

“Rio Tinto, through its companies since the establishment of Rio Sava Exploration, has invested €511.2 million in the Jadar Project. The largest part of this capital has been spent on covering losses from previous and current years of operation, totaling around €487.8 million. In the period from 2019 to 2023, the company reported a net loss of 44.5 billion dinars, significantly higher than the losses incurred from the establishment until 2018 when the total losses amounted to 12.6 billion dinars.”

In other words, there has been a massive investment in the period from 2019-2023, said Đorđević.

Isn’t there a feasibility study?

One of the items, amounting to €173 million, includes the costs of drilling and the preparation of exploration and exploitation wells, as well as costs related to continuing activities on the feasibility study, Đorđević quoted.

“I would like to point out that this feasibility study, in its final form, was submitted to the competent authorities of the Republic of Serbia back in 2021, so it is not clear whether this is a false study and a new study is being conducted, or it could be a study submitted solely for formal-legal and procedural reasons, to have a formal-legal confirmation that some feasibility study has been submitted – or the company is doing something completely different under this item,” Đorđević commented.

As he emphasized, representatives of civil society have no way of obtaining access to data that would clearly show what these large sums of money were spent on.

Marš sa Drine: Rio Tinto leads 12 legal proceedings against Serbian state organs

“Last month, we announced that the company Rio Sava Exploration (RSE) has spent over 90 million euros on a feasibility study for the ‘terminated’ Jadar project, while spending over 150,000 euros per day on consulting,” said Marš sa Drine. According to their claims, this figure is reached when the amount spent on “consulting” is divided by the number of working days in a year.

“Moreover, three-quarters of the ‘invested money’ by RSE is paid and actually returned to related parties. Meanwhile, the public is being informed about significantly larger amounts that Rio Tinto (RT) allegedly invests ‘in Serbia’,” this movement announced.

“Contrary to the statements of Rio Tinto and RSE executives that the Serbian people will finally decide whether the project in Serbia will be realized or not, Rio Tinto is leading 12 legal proceedings against Serbian state organs in the Administrative Court, regarding the suspension of procedures or revocation of issued permits. The public is being presented with an untrue narrative of a ‘closed chapter’ on a project that is more alive than ever and still exists in the legal system of Serbia – before the Administrative Court,” stated Marš sa Drine in the media conference announcement.

Source : Mašina

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