INTERVIEW WITH GORDANA LUKIĆ
18 November 2020
We talked to Gordana Lukic who was born in Donja Borovica and has lived and worked around Vares for most of her life.
I would like to thank you for your time and for talking to us about your experience and job in mining for the Eastern Mining Bulletin. This is part of our “Living history project”. First of all, can you tell us something about yourself?
My name is Gordana Lukić, I was born on September 20 1961 in Donja Borovica, the most beautiful place in the world. I lived there until 1987 when I got married and moved to Vareš. I finished primary school and after that, I finished the Sewing and Tailoring Course.
What was your first job?
My first work experience was at sea, in Srebreno, Croatia where I worked as a cleaner and waitress. Then my first full-time job was at Energoinvest. I worked as a cook there, and later I worked behind the bar in the restaurant.
How many people were employed in the department where you worked?
About 500 people worked in Energoinvest, and there were twelve of us in the kitchen and restaurant sector. I worked in two shifts, but only worked part-time in the second shift, for example in the evening I worked until 21:00 and had transportation provided.
You have already mentioned that about 500 people worked in the mine at the time, did any of your family members or relatives work in the mine?
My dad was a miner, working at Smreka and Rupice in Borovica and had a pension from the mine. I remember as a little girl carrying my dad’s lunch to the mine at Rupice.
At the time when you had worked at the Lead, Zinc and Barite Mine, were there any employed women?
Yes, there were a lot of women employed in the mine, in the flotation, in the laboratory, etc. They were all young people then, as is your company now - you remind me of that period.
What did you like most about your job and why did you like working?
I loved my job because I was always communicating with people, everyone came to the bar a lot. It was fun and very interesting for me. I was happy, young, the salaries were regular and it was a really wonderful time for all of us.
When you look at life then and now, in the area of the municipality of Vareš, can you make a comparison?
I can, because I feel sorry for the current generations of young people, for not having a job, I especially feel sorry for people who are educated. Before, we could hardly wait to finish the craft and get a job because jobs were waiting for us. That is why I would like this mine to come to life.
How did Vareš look like at the peak of its power at a time when the lead, zinc and barite mine was operating?
Life in Vareš was beautiful then. At least to me. Everything was regular for everyone, we had great health which is the most important thing.
You have also been the president of the Mother Teresa Association for a long time - can you tell us more about that?
The Mother Teresa Association was founded in 1998. I was president for 22 years but this year the Association closed. Our goal was to help the elderly, the sick and all people in poor financial situations. We operated in the entire municipality of Vareš and I cooperated with many non-governmental organizations from Bosnia and Herzegovina and neighboring countries. It was a beautiful experience for me because humanitarian work is my love. After the closure of the Association, I continue to visit and help those in need.
When the mine and the ironworks were operating, was sufficient attention paid to environmental protection and compliance with the laws of the area at the time?
I don't think that was a priority then. However, Vareš was not as polluted as Zenica was. Vareš has always been a clean city.
Do you have any message for youth who are just starting to build their careers?
They should build their experiences while they are still young if I were young now I would always look for a job in my home town and I would not leave.
Thank you for your time with the hope that this cooperation will continue and improve!
Thank you for having me. It is my life's wish that this mine will be successful and that the younger generation have jobs and stay in Vareš. They are our future.