Located in the southeast of Serbia, Bor is home to one of the largest copper reserves in the world and one of the largest copper mines in Europe. Gold has been mined in the area since Roman times. Copper was discovered in 1902 and in 1903 a French backed mining company started industrial mining. Throughout the 20th century different owners ran the mines with varying degrees of outcome. After the end of the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, the mine was put up for sale by the Serbian government. In 2018, the mining concession was sold to the Chinese mining company, Zijin Mining, and the mine became formally known as Zijin Bor Copper.
The mines in and around Bor have been an integral part of the city for more than a century. They have come to define the geographical, cultural and social landscape of the city and its surroundings. They have provided jobs and helped build the local economy. The inhabitants take pride in the history of the mines and the mythology built up around generations of locals working there.
However, since the recent privatization and sale of the mines, the production has intensified. This has led to a dramatic increase in air pollution in the city, with sulfur dioxide levels reaching 7-8 times the legal maximum. Also, the surrounding hills, forests and rivers are heavily polluted by the 24/7 mining operation.
Mining Town is a registration of the landscape, the city and the mining activities. Videos and photos recorded in and around Bor, show the impact of the mines on the land- and cityscape. The artists try to capture both the violence and the beauty of the transformed landscapes, and the impact this has on the city and its inhabitants.
Rune Peitersen, DK 1971. Lives and works in Amsterdam (NL) and Brussels (BE).
Mikica Andrejic, SRB 1977. Lives and works in Zajecar (SRB).