Nickel ore exploration mining, Trstenik, Serbia

Despite strong opposition by local people and authorities of Trstenik, the New Law on Mining and Geological Research from 2015 allowed for issuing exploration permits for nickel exploitation without consulting the municipal authorities.


Description
Serbian Nickel DOO Company was established in 2010. In November 2011 Serbian Nickel obtained a permit from the Ministry of the Environment (was valid until the end of 2012), to conduct exploratory mining of nickel ore in the territories of three municipalities: Trstenik, Vrnjačka banja and Topola. The main economic activity in these municipalities is production of fruits and vegetables. After the company announced exploration plans on the location that coincided with the fertile land and located in close proximity to Trstenik city center and municipal sources of drinking and mineral water, the local government and community started protesting against it. The nickel ore exploration in this region was previously conducted by the Government of Yugoslavia in the 1950s and 1960s. The result of the exploration showed the existence of nickel ore deposits of only 1% grade. In 2006, the European Nickel Company tried to get a permit for nickel exploitation in Mokra Gora, without success. The owner of Serbian Nickel was found to be associated with European Nickel. In September 2012 the municipal government of Trstenik forbid any future explorations and mining on its territory. Next month the Ministry of mining, natural resources and spatial planning organized a public debate in Belgrade about nickel exploration, on which the mayors of three involved municipalities were not invited. In December 2012, after the legal deadline, the company submitted an incomplete request to the Ministry of mining to prolong its exploration permit. In February 2013, the Government proposed a new law on mining which included the possibility of making decisions on exploration mining without previously consulting affected municipalities. In October 2013, the company was approved an extension of the exploratory mining permit for the next two years. The citizens, local government, local entrepreneurs and director of the Nature Park Mokra gora, supported by internationally-renowned film director, Emir Kusturica, created an environmental movement. They organized petitions and public debates against the project, and have occupied public space preventing the company from reaching the exploration sites. The Serbian Academy of Sciences and Art have also supported the cause. In November 2013, the municipality of Trstenik submitted a lawsuit against those responsible in the Ministry of mining that extended the permit despite the local government's ban on nickel exploration. In February 2014, the Administrative court in Kragujevac rejected this lawsuit after which the Municipality representatives reported the company to the mining inspection and announced filing an appeal with the Court of Cessation. In 2015, the Serbian parliament adopted a new Law on Mining and Geological Research that took away the power from the municipal authorities. This enabled the interested companies to obtain licenses for exploration and exploitation of nickel ore in Trstenik and other municipalities. 
Basic Data
NameNickel ore exploration mining, Trstenik, Serbia
CountrySerbia
SiteTrstenik, Topola and Vrnjacka Banja
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Specific CommoditiesNickel ore
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe nickel exploration license includes exploration on 10,000 ha and the taking of 150,000-200,000 tonnes of surface soil in both Trstenik and Topola.
Project Area (in hectares)20,000
Level of Investment (in USD)5,400,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population70,000
Start Date2012
End Date04/12/2015
Company Names or State EnterprisesSerbian Nickel DOO from Serbia - Exploration company
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Natural Resources, Mining and Spatial Planing of Republic of Serbia; Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection of Republic of Serbia; Municipal Government of Trstenik; Municipal Government of Topola; Municipal Government of Vrnjačka Banja; Institute of Nature Conservation of Serbia
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersFacebook groups Against nickel explorations www.facebook.com/Recimo.NE.eksploataciji.nikla?ref=stream; www.facebook.com/VrnjackaBanjaProtivNikla?filter=1

Zeleni Srbije; Serbian Academy of Science and Arts; Committie of Environmental Protection of Assembly of Serbia.
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Celebrities, including filmmaker Emir Kusturica
Forms of MobilizationArtistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
OtherThe health hazards of nickel exploitation and production to local populations include problems with the lungs and stomach, nausea and diarrhoea.
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Outcome
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCourt decision (failure for environmental justice)
New legislation
Project temporarily suspended
Project temporarily suspended by decision of the municipal authorities; Recentralization
Development of AlternativesThe municipalities and local communities are against any mining activities in the region. They are asking the Ministry of mining to cancel the permit for exploratory mining and suggest investments in agriculture and tourism activities.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.In 2015, the Serbian parliament adopted a new Law on Mining and Geological Research that took away the power from the municipal authorities. This enabled the interested companies to obtain licenses for exploration and exploitation of nickel ore in Trstenik and other municipalities.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Zakon o rudarstvu i geoloskim istrazivanjima (Sl Glasnik RS. Br 88/2011)
[click to view]

Zakon o rudarstvu i geološkim istraživanjima Decembar 2015
[click to view]

Links

Bačević dao odobrenje za nikl iako je rok istekao (various links to project documentation)
[click to view]

Trstenik: Nikl ponovo na sudu (Vecernje novosti 8.2.2014.)
[click to view]

Trstenik: Krivicna prijava zbog nikla (Vecernje novosti 19.11.2013.)
[click to view]

Javna rasprava o niklu 12.oktobra (Akter 05.10.2012.)
[click to view]

Potpisima protiv nikla (Vecernje novosti 21.11.2013.)
[click to view]

Bivsi poslanik DS direktor Srbija nikla
[click to view]

Nickel debate: Expert urges "50-year ban"
[click to view]

Serbia’s Nickel: Some Things Aren’t for Sale… Or Aren’t They?
[click to view]

Blic u poseti selu Veluca kod Trstenika (BLIC 16.11.2013.)
[click to view]

Ne treba nam saglasnost Trstenika (Akter 18.11.2013.)
[click to view]

Sumadijske opstine protiv eksploatacije nikla (Sumadija Press 11.2.2013.)
[click to view]

Zeleni: Gradjane da pitaju o niklu (B92 18.11.2013.)
[click to view]

Trstenicki okrugli sto (Danas 18.11.2013.)
[click to view]

Trstenik: Strah od rudarskog okna (Vecernje novosti 7.2.2013.)
[click to view]

Aleksic: Slucaj nikl prijavljen inspekciji (Vecernje novosti 10.2.2014.)
[click to view]

Serbians Unite Against Nickel Extraction
[click to view]

Trstenik protiv rudnika nikla (Politika 14.11.2013.)
[click to view]

Srbiju truje crnogorski klan? (Vesti online 19.11.2013.)
[click to view]

Drzava odlucuje o eksploataciji nikla (Vecernje novosti 10.2.2013.)
[click to view]

Odbacena tuzba Trstenika za istrazivanje nikla (Vecernje novosti 7.2.2014.)
[click to view]

Zar je topola za jalovinu (Politika 7.11.2012.)
[click to view]

Kusturica I celnici opstina nisu pozvani na raspravu
[click to view]

Trsteničani strahuju zbog novog Zakona o rudarstvu
[click to view]

Srpske opštine nemoćne protiv opasnog nikla
[click to view]

Apel lokalnih samouprava: Eksploatacija nikla je ekološka bomba
[click to view]

Zakon o rudarstvu i geološkim istraživanjima otvara mogućnost eksploatacije nikla u Trsteniku
[click to view]

Ozakonjeno trovanje niklom
[click to view]

OPASNA RUDA NIKLA SAD MOŽE DA SE KOPA BILO GDE U SRBIJI: Oduzete nadležnosti opštinama!
[click to view]

Opštine protiv rudnika nikla!
[click to view]

Media Links

RTS video
[click to view]

RTS Video “Niklovanje Srbije”
[click to view]

Other Documents

Street art against nickel explorations The sign plays with words Trstenik and Nikl (nickel in Serbian)
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorJovanka Spiric, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)gmail.com
Last update30/05/2016
Comments