A source of wealth for more than a century as home to one of Europe's largest copper mines, Serbia's Bor has struggled for years to attract foreign investment and heal its soiled environment.
RTB Bor, the state-owned company that thrived two decades ago as Yugoslavia's largest copper mine and smelter, fell into disrepair during the 1990s wars, international embargo and mismanagement under President Slobodan Milosevic.
"Our technology dates from 1961 and 1971 and we are in dire need of renewing it," Chief Executive Blagoje Spaskovski told Reuters. Decades of mining with Soviet-era technology have scarred the region, home to about 60,000 people and around 250 km (155.3 miles) southeast of Belgrade.
"We went decades without investment, without new mines and technology such as a new foundry," Slobodan Milosavljevic, Serbia's trade minister, told Reuters.
Serbia's efforts to sell RTB Bor failed in 2007 and 2008 as two potential buyers, Romania's Cuprom and Austria's A-Tec, failed to meet terms of the tender.
In June, the RTB Bor and Canada's SNC Lavalin signed a 175 million euro ( million) contract to build a copper smelter and a sulphuric acid factory. About 135 million euros will come from a loan from Export Development Canada, Canada's export credit agency.
Serbia has pledged the remaining 40 million euros as well as another 27 million euros in mining equipment.
znečištěné životní prostředí
to be in dire need
copper mine - měděný důl
smelter - huť, vysoká pec
foundry - slévárna