Over 2000 thousand citizens in Visegrad municipality gathered on protests against recent plan for nickel exploitation announced from municipal officials that are hoping to stimulate economy development in this impoverished region.
Citizens with masks on their faces, in doctor uniforms, with bandages expressed their dissatisfaction with the city officials’ decision to give permission for the exploitation.
48 years old Vidoje Madzar, shoemaker from Visegrad, says that he participated in the protests because he is worried about “the future and health of our children”.
“Experts say that nickel is 100 times more toxic than any other mineral. We won’t let our beautiful nature to become a part of someone’s profit” Madzar stated for SETimes.
City government doesn’t see any obstacles for this procedure and it already gave concessions and permissions for research expecting industrial development to bring to a big economy advantage.
According to Sarajevo Geology Agency, 200 million tons least of nickel is found in Vardiste area near Visegrad.
Municipality Rudo in East BiH also issued permission for nickel exploitation on its territory. Mayor of Rudo, Rato Rajak rejected the beliefs that nickel exploitation can harm environment and that it can endanger human health so he stated that this effort can only bring usefulness.
“We made a decision that investor can do researches on the territory of our municipality for the purpose of nickel findings so we make concessions that citizens can give their opinion on the referendum. It is unimaginable what this kind of effort can do for so little place. Thousands of working places, economy blooming… Investor will have to guarantee safety. I live here also and I’m not crazy to let someone to poison me. I suggest that we, as officials, visit some country where nickel exploitation is being done so we can see at firsthand how exploitation effects the environment”, Rajak stated for SETimes.
Average market price of nickel is 20.000 EUR per ton.
Although nickel exploitation on Balkan is not being done yet, experts warns that countries around the world that did nickel research have never survived ecological disasters.
“Russian city Norlinsk is well-known as “the city of terror”. This is the biggest complex for nickel exploitation in the world where almost 500 tons of nickel oxide and 2 million of sulfur dioxide is being let out in the air. Mineral that is being excavated is being washed with sulfur oxide in order to get nickel.
“Everyone knows that sulfur acid is fatal. If we launch exploitation, it will be a disaster. The environment will not survive. Bosnian and Balkan rivers that have one of the richest life in Europe will completely die out”, Rajko Cvijic, Professor of mining and ecology on Mining University in Prijedor, stated for SETimes.
Big ecological hazard happened in Finland in Tavivaara because of licking in the biggest nickel mines in Europe. Thousands of meters of toxic substance were let out in environment in three days.
Exploitation is being done the most in Canada and Australia, next to Russia.
Serbia also plans to do nickel exploitation and residents from Uzice, Trstenik, Vrnjacka Banja, where exploitation should be launched held several protests in last couple of months.
“The goal is to see if there is some nickel in the region. The first phase is drilling, then feasibility in order to determine profitability and the third is construction of factory and mine. We have required permissions”, Radoslav Vuckovic, Director of Srbija Nikl Company, stated on public discussion in organization of Mining-Geology University in Belgrade.
However, some citizens are not satisfied.
“The food chain will be polluted. We’ll fight against sickness, tumor, water, air and land pollution. Only those who will do exploitation will have some advantage” Milica Markovic-Vojic, President of Environment Board in Parliament, said for SETimes.
The same company submitted a request for nickel research in BiH.
Source; Serbia Energy/SETimes/Agencies