- Title: Kosovo PM says no further talks to be held on Trepca
- Date: 24th October 2016
- Summary: STANTERG, KOSOVO (JANUARY 21, 2015) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF MINERS ON STRIKE INSIDE THE MINE VARIOUS OF MINERS SITTING VARIOUS OF MINERS LISTENING MEMBER OF KOSOVO PARLIAMENT, VISAR YMERI MINER SMOKING MINERS APPLAUDING
- Embargoed: 8th November 2016 15:50
- Keywords: Kosovo mine vote Trepca Serbia
- Location: STANTERG AND PRISTINA, KOSOVO
- City: STANTERG AND PRISTINA, KOSOVO
- Country: Kosovo
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00255D6IIH
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Kosovo's Prime Minister Isa Mustafa said on Monday (October 24) no more talks on ownership of Trepca would be discussed after a vote in the Parliament put the mine under government control.
"We will not discuss the ownership of Trepca with anyone. It belongs to Kosovo, to Kosovo's miners, and its mineral wealth belongs to the state of Kosovo. This issue is closed once and for all," said Mustafa as he paid a visit to the mine.
Earlier this month Kosovo's parliament voted to put a huge mining complex under government control and save it from bankruptcy, despite objections from Belgrade and protests by local Serbs.
The Trepca lead, zinc and silver mines, which before the armed conflicts that swept through the Balkans in the 1990s accounted for two thirds of Kosovo's gross domestic product, are currently operating at minimum capacity with creditor claims at 1.4 billion euros ($1.57 billion).
The complex's ownership structure has been the subject of dispute between Kosovo and Serbia. Belgrade claims 75 percent of Trepca, part of which is on its territory.
Last year hundreds of miners in Stanterg refused to resurface at the end of their shift in protest demanding for the government to take control of the mines.
"No one should be afraid about the future of Trepca, because things will happen the way the parliament of Kosovo decided," Mustafa told the miners.
Trepca straddles Kosovo's Serb-Albanian ethnic divide and, since the territory broke away from Serbia in 1999, the mine has been held in trust and readied for sale by an agency created by the United Nations.
However, the Privatisation Agency of Kosovo (KPA) has failed to come up with a plan for the mine's future, partly due to its murky ownership structure.
The new legislation makes the government the guarantor of the company's debt. The complex had been due to face bankruptcy proceedings on November 1.
Once a mainstay of industrial production in the former Yugoslavia, Trepca employed 20,000 people at its height and accounted for most of the country's mineral wealth.
Serbia considers the complex as belonging to a list of "socially-owned enterprises" and would view its appropriation by the new Balkan state as theft.
Kosovo says Serbia lost rights to state-controlled enterprises on Kosovar territory when forces under late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic massacred and expelled ethnic Albanians from Kosovo in a 1998-99 counter-insurgency campaign.
Kosovo declared independence in 2008.
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