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Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Chinese company expresses interest in acquiring Berane coal mine

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A distinguished Chinese company has recently expressed interest in the Berane coal mine, known for its expertise in mineral extraction among other operations.

Nikola Šćekić, the director of the Berane coal mine, affirmed to “Dan” that representatives of the Chinese company had visited Berane, hinting at a possible acquisition of the “Petnjik” pit.

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“Although no specific deals were struck during the meeting, it’s noteworthy that a reputable Chinese firm has shown genuine interest in our mine. We hope that further discussions will lead to a mutually beneficial arrangement,” emphasized Šćekić.

Attending the meeting with the Chinese company, which has already acquired several mines in Serbia, was Aleksandar Stijović, an advisor to the President of Montenegro, who unofficially stated his belief that the sale of the Berane mine was a likely outcome.

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“We’ve had discussions with the Chinese company, and I believe they will indeed purchase the Berane mine,” asserted Stijović.

Local authorities acknowledged being informed of the Chinese company’s interest in negotiating the purchase of the mine but stated they were still unaware of the mine’s fate.

Šćekić confirmed that efforts to restore power supply to the Petnjik pit had not yet borne fruit.

“Due to the power outage, our pumping station is inactive, causing water levels in the mine to reach critical levels. We lack the means to address this issue. Restoring power supply is crucial to any potential resumption of production,” emphasized Šćekić, noting that about ten workers were currently engaged in maintaining the mine.

To recap, the Berane mine was taken over by Metalfer from Sremska Mitrovica seven years ago, following its acquisition from the Greek company Balkan Energy. Production resumed at the time, employing 150 workers across three shifts. However, production was halted again two years ago, leaving only fifteen workers to maintain the available equipment. The main reason cited for the production halt was that the Serbian owner had been covering the mine’s losses for the past two years. Since the breakdown of the old substation on November 11, 2022, the Berane coal mine has been without electricity, leading to underground water flooding and endangering the Petnjik pit.

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