The Serbian government on Jan. 21 abolished a decree on the Spatial Plan for the special purpose area for the realization of the jadarite exploitation and processing project, thereby, according to Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, rendering all legal acts related to Rio Tinto and its daughter company Rio Sava Exploration null and void.
"All the decisions, all the permits have been annulled, and we never had any contracts," said the prime minister at a press conference after the government session.
She added that the working group for the implementation of the Jadar Project had been abolished, too, which in her words means that all the demands of the environmental protests have been met and that this is the end of Rio Tinto in Serbia. "With this, everything is done as far as the Jadar Project and Rio Tinto are concerned," said the prime minister.
She went on to say that she was not afraid of Rio Tinto's potential lawsuit. "We have tried to do what is best for our citizens in an open and transparent way. We are not afraid of Rio Tinto, let them do what they think is best. I think that this is the right decision and that it once again speaks about how we listen to our people and that it is our job to protect their interests, even when we think differently," said the PM.
Commenting on a statement from Rio Tinto in which the company expressed "concern" over the announced withdrawal of the Spatial Plan for the Jadar Project, the prime minister said that she would have liked it if the company had shown such concern earlier and if, as she put it, the company had been more open for communication with the citizens of the Jadar and Radjevina area.