Kosovo: Trepça miners’ life at risk

Prishtinë, Apr 4, 2006 – Rainer Hengstmann, member of the Kosovo Independent Commission for Mines and Minerals (ICMM) said that Trepça’s mines would rather be closed than obtain a license for regular production, as security is not sufficient and the infrastructure is obsolete which causes losses.

“The mine has a two-year exploration license and it may be extended for two-years four more times,” said Hengstmann. “Mines that do not meet the minimal conditions cannot get a license for regular production.”

According to Hengstmann, a feasibility study is a condition for a license. The managers in the southern part of Kosovo have not even conducted this study.

“This week we have received a feasibility study for the mines in the northern part,” said Hengstmann. “We are currently reviewing this study and it indicates that the northern part has made more progress than the southern part.”

Hengstmann considers criticism of local Trepça managers and the MEM, blaming the ICMM for not issuing these licenses as being groundless.

“They can say whatever they want, but the reality is different,” he said. “We do not even think of issuing the license as long as we are not provided with the necessary documentation. We need a business plan. How can one run a business if he doesn’t know what to do?” asked Hengstmann in an interview with the Kosovar daily Lajm.