LIVING HISTORY PROJECT INTERVIEW WITH NIKOLA SIMIC
21 September 2021
Interview with Nikola Simic an entrepreneur from Vares.
I would like to thank you for your time and for agreeing to speak for Eastern Mining newsletter about your experience and employment, which is part of the Living History project.
First of all, could you tell us a little more about yourself?
My name is Nikola Šimić, I was born in Borovica in 1966. I finished high school in Sarajevo and immediately after finishing school I got the opportunity to work.
What was your first job?
My first job was at Energoinvest as a traffic officer. I worked there until I joined the army. When I returned, I worked for another 6 months, and then life took me to Zagreb, where I continued to work and I got return in Vares in 1988. Since then I have my own private company that still works today.
What did you like most about your job?
My job was transport-related obligations - issuing travel orders, working hours, fuel, lubricants , etc. In that period, the main characteristic of Energoinvest was youth, so it was easy to work in such an environment because youth is characterized by dynamics and motivation to work.
Did any of your family members or relatives work in the mine?
No, my father worked as a driver at Autotrans, he drove a bus to Borovica, and a lot of people from Borovica worked at Energoinvest. My family has traditionally been in private business.
When you look at life then and now, in the area of the municipality of Vareš, can you make a comparison?
Of course I can. That period of my youth and my growing up is the period when Vares abounded in strength and youth. I will cite only one example that shows the difference from the present period. Namely, when I was in the first grade, there were 37 of us in the class, and today, considering that I transport students, we have a total of seven children from Borovica, Dubostica and Pogara from the first grade of elementary school to the fourth grade of high school. That is Vareš then and now.
How did Vareš look like at the peak of its power at a time when the lead, zinc and barite mine was operating?
The power of the past Vares was in the fact that everyone worked and that Vareš fed everyone. Unfortunately, what happened happened, but I hope for a better tomorrow for Vares and its inhabitants.
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?
At that time, a system prevailed in which the voice of the people did not matter. We have not been asked about anything, and especially not about what is being given a lot of attention today. The example of the Vares river Stavnja, which was not clean at the time, speaks of disregard for the environment. While it was red and dimly, we benefited, but my wish is for the Vares man to get a chance for life again, but that this time Stavnja be neither red nor dimly.
Do you have any message for youth who are just starting to build their careers?
Young people must and should live their dreams. Youth is looking for more modern, newer things and they should not be prevented from doing so, but they should know that there are perspectives here as well and that time will show that, because from time immemorial this area has lived from mineral wealth.
Thank you for your time with the hope that this cooperation will continue and improve!
Thank you for the opportunity. At the end, I would like to thank everyone who gave the opportunity to young people in Vares to work. I would also suggest that they help this region, this people to be as it has been. I say that for Vareš, and especially for my Borovica.