Story about Blasting of Starica Mountain
The residents of Majdanpek have been living next to the mine and from the mine for decades; accustomed to blasting, dust, the sound of heavy vehicles. Until recently, they were protected from the influence of mining by the undamaged Starica Mountain, which is a kind of trademark of Majdanpek. With the arrival of the Chinese company “Zijin” as the majority owner of RTB, led to the fact that Starica began to disappear.
The appearance of an excavator last summer at the top of Starica caused alarm among the residents of the mining town. And then, on June 5, 2022, the people of Majdanpek were disturbed by a deafening noise from Starica Mountain, followed by a cloud of smoke and the collapse of rocks from the top of the mountain, which Dragan Đurić, a resident of Proleterska Street testified.
The blasting was carried out by the Chinese company Zijin “as part of precautionary measures, due to the rehabilitation of the dangerous rock mass on the Starica Mountain”, as it was officially announced at that time. The footage of the blasting that scared the residents of Majdanpek spread throughout Serbia, and forced some residents to protest.
After a large protest in the center of Majdanpek, ten days later, environmental activists, led by councilors of the Citizens’ Group “Ne dam – Nu dau”, make a decision to set up a camp on Starica, in order to save the mountain from mining and demolition, which Vladimir Božić, councilor of the Citizens’ Group “Ne dam – Nu dau”, talks about.
In the Municipal Administration in Majdanpek, they then state that on December 24, 2021, the Zijin Company reported the performance of works on the Northern District under the Simplified Mining Project, while the Ministry of Mining and Energy announces that the urgent rehabilitation of the rock was ordered by the Mining Inspection. The persistent guards of Starica soon began to disrupt the plans of the Chinese company, and everything culminated on August 20, 2022 when private security demolished the camp.
After several protests and demands from the public that the state announce the events in the Northern District, on September 21, 2022, the Minister of Mining, Zorana Mihajlović, accompanied by associates and Chinese partners, came to Starica. After a few days, there was also a conflict between company workers and mountain guards. This was the reason for the arrest of the activists, who were detained.
After the arrest of the activists, Zijin intensified the mining works, so nine months later the changes in the Northern District and Starica are visible to the naked eye, said Irena Barbulović, councilor of the Citizens’ Group „Ne dam – Nu dau”. Zijin filed several criminal charges against the activists and those processes are ongoing. However, the fact that the guards of Starica were right from the very beginning was also
confirmed by the Basic Court in Majdanpek, which on April 11, 2023 rejected as unfounded the lawsuit of Zijin that the activists had usurped the land owned by the company in Starica, because an inspection of the cadastre established that the disputed plot belongs to the Republic of Serbia.
Further consequences of aggressive mining can only be guessed, and the gloomy atmosphere in Majdanpek is confirmed by the fact that everyone who does not work in the mine and whose existence does not depend on mining is leaving.
Association “Za Drinking Fountains”
This text was produced within the project “Environmental response to mining expansion in Timočka Krajina” funded by the European Union, and implemented by the Association “Za Drinking Fountains”, the Association of Young Researchers Bor, Civic Library “Europe” Bor and Children’s Center Zaječar. The content of the text is entirely responsibility of these associations and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.