Interview with Dragoslav Pesic

  • general

  • 28 February 2024

“Living History Project” interview with Dragoslav Pesic, President of Rudnica Village Council


We would like to thank you for your time and for agreeing to do this interview for Adriatic Metals Serbia Newsletter as a part of our "Living History Project". Can you tell us something about yourself?

I was born in 1967 in Guvniste village, Belo Brdo, in the municipality of Leposavic. I moved to Rudnica at age four, where I still live.

What was your first job?

I worked in Sarajevo at the Military Postal Service Agency for 4 years. After that, I started working at Kopaonik Tourist Center on cable car electrical maintenance. For the past ten years, I have been the Head of cable car electrical maintenance department.

You are the President of Rudnica local community. Can you tell us more about responsibilities and challenges that such function entails?

I have been the President of Rudnica local community for three years now, without ever aspiring to be in that role. Coronavirus took away the former president, and my great friend and neighbor, the man who did the most for our local community. After being elected, I did not have the heart to refuse that position and not to continue the legacy of my late friend Srecko Lazarevic.

Among your many activities we should mention that you are one of the organizers of "Srecko Lazarevic" memorial soccer tournament. What does this tournament represent for you personally and what impact does it have on the local community of Rudnica?

The biggest event in Rudnica is the tournament founded by the late Srecko Lazarevic, which now bears his name. It is held annually at the beginning of August, just in time when Rudnica comes alive with agricultural activities, summer vacation and visits to relatives.

The tournament gathers many teams in junior, senior and veteran categories from Raska, Baljevac, Biljanovac, Novi Pazar, Lesko and Leposavic. From the very beginning, your company has supported this tournament as one of the main sponsors and participants. Your team has had notable successes, winning both first and second place several times. This year’s tournament had a record attendance and we are glad to see it growing year after year. It is my wish that this tournament and the memory of our late Srecko Lazarevic last.

Is Raska a mining town in your opinion?

It is a well known fact that Rudnica was named after mines that have been located here from Roman times until present day, so yes, I think Raska is a mining town.

Did anyone from your family or acquaintances work in a mine?

I am a child of a parent who has worked at and retired from the Suva Ruda mine. I followed exploitation of ore from Kopaonik and Kizevak for as long as I can remember and often visited the mines with my father. Most of my neighbours also worked in that mine, so my surroundings are related to that activity.

When you look at life in Raska then and now, can you make a comparison?

Life used to be very difficult, especially in villages. Now everything has progressed, both technology and mechanization. The only problem is that the way of life has become too fast. We have better living conditions, but we have no time to live.

Do you think that Raska would flourish again if a mine is opened in the future?

It would certainly make everything better. It is a bit quiet at the moment, but I sincerely hope that exploitation will begin soon after exploration work carried out by your company and that our hills will come to life, increasing quality of life in our Rudnica and our Raska.

How do you see Raska in the future?

I see Raska as a city full of hospitable people and visited as much as Kopaonik. Our city is surrounded by beautiful mountains such as Golija, Kopaonik and Rogozna, and I believe that we should also turn towards encouraging tourism.

What did Raska and Rudnica look like in times when the mines were operational?

Our local community was very lively at the time, with many miners out and about 24/7. Most of Rudnica locals worked in Rudnica, as well as people from surrounding towns. We had three restaurants, five shops and there were a lots of people everywhere, as opposed to nowadays when there is less of everything. Closure of the mine stopped everything and most people had to find work outside of Rudnica.

Our Company carries out exploration drilling on Rudnica local community territory among others. Can you tell us more about that?

Cooperation between our local community and your company is on a very high level, and it is a pleasure to work with you. People were skeptical and distrustful in the beginning, but when they saw how your company operates, they were very satsisfied. Also, the fact that you leave built access roads for them to use after exploration work is finished deserves only words of praise.

As the President of a local community in which mining activities may start in the future, you have an excellent understanding of interests of both parties. What kind of attitude do you expect from companies towards the local community and what would you draw the companies’ attention to when it comes to mining in Raska and in your local community?

Our mine fed many families, but also left us with a problem. The operators didn't take care of the environment, they left tailings behind and abandoned facilities that no one takes care of , and I wouldn't like that to happen again. I would like everything to be better, for new jobs to appear so that people stay in Raška instead of starting a new life elsewhere.

Do you have a message for young people who are just starting to build their careers in mining or in general?

Our imperative and ultimate goal is for our children to stay in villages and towns in which they grew up.

I would recommend young people to have more self-initiative, voluntary involvement in various projects and for monetary gain not to be their priority when they are young. I would suggest them to have fun and spend as much time with closest friends as possible, and also to make new friends, because that is the basis for everything that follows later on and the ultimate riches.

Thank you for the time you dedicated to do this interview. We hope that our cooperation will continue and improve further!