By Simon MacGregorBOSNIA, March 15 (Reuters) – Bosnia and Hercegovina has the second largest gold mine in the Balkans, according to official statistics, and many in the West see it as a major development in the region.
The mine, owned by Serb-owned Bajaj Copper, is the second-largest in the world, according the World Gold Council.
It has a gross volume of 2.4 billion tonnes and is the third-largest gold producer in Europe, after South Africa and Switzerland.
Bosnia’s gold production is also growing rapidly.
In 2015, it was valued at nearly $8 billion.
It now produces around $3 billion a year.
The mining industry is booming in Bosnia and is contributing to economic growth in the country, the world’s second-biggest economy.
Bajaja Copper is hoping to become a major producer of gold in the next few years.
“We have to be ready for a boom,” said Oren Uzcakovic, the chief executive of the company.
He said the mine’s mining activities, including the construction of a new gold mine, were planned and could be completed by the end of 2020.
“Gold is the main source of income for the country.
If we can do this, we can also create jobs,” Uzcachovic said.
Bajaj, the state-owned mining company, is owned by Baja Saric, a close ally of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.
Saric is currently serving a 13-year prison sentence for war crimes.
The company was founded by Serbs in the 1980s.
It was bought out by Saric’s family in 2007.
Bojana Saric has said it is committed to creating jobs in the mine, which is one of the worlds largest gold reserves, by 2020.
The mines operation, which includes drilling, blasting and gold production, is expected to create 3,500 jobs.
But many say the country is going backwards.
Bavaj Copper and Serb state power company SADC, both of which are majority owned by the Sarics, are under increasing pressure from the United Nations, the EU, and the United States.
The United Nations Security Council last month passed a resolution on the Saric family’s alleged war crimes during the war.
The resolution demanded an investigation into the mines’ alleged complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Serbia and Bosnia signed a peace deal in 2012 but it has not been ratified by the UN Security Council, which has been dominated by Sarics allies.