Kosovar Premier Bajram Kosumi (file photo)
22 August 2005 -- One of the biggest lead and zinc mines in the Balkans reopened today in Kosovo for the first time since the end of the 1998-99 conflict.
Officials say they expect Stari trg -- the centerpiece of the Trepca mining and industrial complex in northern Kosovo -- to produce about 20,000 tons of lead and zinc mineral a month in the first phase of its reopening.
Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi described the reopening as "a symbol of the Kosovo economy."
Trepca, located near the town of Kosovska Mitrovica, was once a giant conglomerate composed of more than 40 mines, foundries, and subsidiary plants. At its height, it employed 20,000 workers and accounted for some 25 percent of the industrial production of the entire region.
Kosovo has been administered by the United Nations since a NATO-led bombing campaign ousted Serbian troops from the overwhelmingly ethnic Albanian province in 1999.