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Dušan Simić, Jantar Grupa Founder And CEO

No Progress Without Geology

The experience of company Jantar grupa, a leading exploration and consulting firm in the fields of geology, mining and environmental protection, shows that every individual mine contributes to development at all levels, from local government to the state, provided it operates according to the standards controlled by the state

Geological exploration is needed in all spheres of life, as it ensures that we have clean water, functioning roads and secure houses, the essential minerals required to produce almost everything we touch. That’s why they insist at Jantar grupa that geology be treated with the care and attention it deserves.

We are hearing increasing demands to ban geological exploration and the opening of mines coming from part of the public. Are those demands justified?

– A country that doesn’t invest in geological exploration, or doesn’t allow others to do so, is doomed to being eternally dependent on other countries; dependent for energy, fuel, water, all kinds of goods and resources, even food.

Serbia, as a country with natural resources – ranging from water, via energy, to ferrous and non-ferrous metals – shouldn’t and mustn’t abandon its research and exploitation, nor should it permit certain interest groups, under the patronage of various “green” organizations and others (NGOs) to prevent the country’s progress. Of course, we shouldn’t launch a hunt for geologists, as some politicians claim, just as uncontrolled exploitation shouldn’t be allowed either. Exploitation should be conducted exclusively in accordance with the law and the fulfilling of all conditions prescribed by the state. And the state has institutions via which it can and must control all steps, from the stage of designing geological exploration and exploitation projects, to the final stage of mine closure and complete land reclamation.

We need one central place where we can obtain all research and exploitation approvals (onestop- shop) and procedures that will be immune to external influences

Does this mean that the problem isn’t geological exploration and exploitation, but rather a lack of regulations, standards and laws, or a failure to comply with them?

– Geological exploration and mining must certainly be carried out in accordance with the law and with care and attention to respecting environmental protection. Serbia has good laws regulating these areas, but it’s also necessary to ensure good controls and the work of inspections. I also consider it necessary to update the Law on Mining and Geological Research, because the latest amendments introduced some positive things, but also created problems in the process of obtaining approval to conduct research. We need one central place where we can obtain all research and exploitation approvals (one-stop-shop) and procedures that will be immune to external influences. Bylaws should also be adopted and harmonized with the EU (PERC), because we’re still working in accordance with regulations that date back to the 1970s.

How can tensions in society be reduced?

– Numerous different professional associations exist in Serbia, some of which – like the Serbian Geological Society – have existed for more than 130 years, while some are new – like the Chamber of Mining and Geological Engineers of Serbia, which was founded this year. Some are closing down, some are only just being created, but what they all have in common is that they don’t do enough to deal with the problems of their members. Too much attention is devoted to personal interests, and too little to the interests of society. I think that forming a single cluster that would encompass all stakeholders – investors, mine owners, banks, architects, contractors, equipment suppliers, NGOs, green movements, local governments, government institutions, institutes, laboratories etc. – would contribute significantly to improving understanding and reducing tensions in society.

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