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Serbia: “Chinese could buy mining complex – but have conditions”

A Chinese company is close to a decision to take over the copper mining and smelting complex RTB Bor, in eastern Serbia.

However, they have a list of conditions they will send to the Serbian government, the daily Blic writes.

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The company in question is “one of the largest and most powerful in the Chinese mining sector,” while the Serbia move would come “in agreement with China’s state administration.”

However, the name of company is being kept as “a top secret,” said Blic.

“The Chinese have made it publicly known that they are not interested in RTB Bor’s piling debt, that is measured in billions (of dinars)… It seems that the Serbian government will have to decide to write off RTB’s debt toward public companies, above all that for electricity,” the paper said, citing an unnamed source.

The article further states that the Chinese “insist on their management taking complete control of RTB and want a considerable number of workers to be sacked, while social (redundancy) program would be paid by Serbia.”

“Although willing to help, they are aware that our side is in an almost hopeless situation as (RTB) Bor is increasingly becoming a noose around the neck of Serbia’s ambitious reforms,” said the source, and added that the final appraisal of the number of workers to be sacked has not been “harmonized” – but that “it would not be surprising if they were to demand” that as many as 2,500 workers be laid off.

The Serbian government in December announced a public call to select professional management and advisors for RTB Bor.

Source: B92

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