Trepca to reopen four mines

PRISTINA (Reuters) – The Trepca mining and smelting complex in UN-run Kosovo said yesterday it hoped to re-open four lead and zinc mines by the end of 2004, in order to attract much-needed foreign investment. Charles Brown, Trepca’s United Nations-appointed manager, said lack of funding had delayed the project by several months. «We didn’t get the money we needed,» he told Reuters. «But I’m hopeful we’ll have some production in four of the five mines by the end of the year.» Once an important part of former Yugoslavia’s industry, Trepca was slowly crippled by mismanagement and under-investment as the old federation fell apart in the 1990s. The UN’s Kosovo mission now hopes to turn the complex, located in the northern ethnically divided town of Mitrovica, into a major contributor to the province’s economy five years after it was devastated by war. Brown said the idea was to start «limited production» in order to lure foreign investors. «We’re not looking at real large-scale commercial production here. We just want to get things going, prove everything works.» A recent World Bank report said that in the medium-term, Kosovo’s mining sector could become an engine of growth.

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