The government of Kosovo approved the statute for Trepca at its May 29 meeting, almost two years after the major mining complex was put under government control in a bid to save it from bankruptcy, the prime minister’s office said in a statement.
This is the first move Kosovo’s government has taken to revive the mining complex of Trepca, which is rich in lead, zinc and silver, two years after country’s parliament settled the legal situation of the company. Serbia claims the majority stake in the company, though.
Trepca is officially managed by the Privatisation Agency of Kosovo, although according to its statute approved by the parliament in 2016, its three basic assets have been granted the status of joint stock company.
Trepca once employed over 20,000 workers, and still consists of different units, grouped mainly in three big sectors: mines, the industrial park in Mitrovica, and the complex of smelters. Most of these have been degraded due to the lack of maintenance and investment. The bulk of resources are lead and zinc mines, smelters and processing facilities.
Set up in the 1930 by a British company and further expanded during the communist regime (when current Kosovo was a province, part of Yugoslavia) Trepca emerged as a conglomerate of 40 mines and factories, located mostly in Kosovo but also in parts of Montenegro. But the source of most of its raw material is the vast mining complex to the east of Mitrovica in the north of Kosovo.
The parliament of Kosovo voted in 2016 to put the mining complex under government control by transforming it from a socially owned enterprise into a shareholding company, giving the state an 80% stake and miners 20%.
Trepca’s ownership structure has been disputed by local Serbs and by Belgrade, who claim 75% of Trepca belongs to Serbia. After the adoption of the law by the parliament of Kosovo, local Serbs protested, asking the government of Kosovo give up their plans to put the mining complex under its control.
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