Serbia mining: 4 new mines expected to start exploitation of rich deposits of copper-lithium-lead-zinc

14. December 2016. / Mining

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In next five years and a half century after, the excavation of ore in unused deposits will begin. The first pits will be in Bosilegrad and Bor, followed by Loznica and Baljevac. Five billion dollars will be invested in exploitation.

The Bosilegrad mine and the site near Bor are the first investments in mining which could be implemented in Serbia after nearly half a century. Furthermore, the jadarite deposit at Loznica and the lithium minerals mine at Baljevac are in the process of exploration.

These are the first four mines which might be opened in Serbia in the next five to seven years, and five billion dollars investment could be injected in the state budget. The investors are mostly foreigners, and ores mined there will include gold, jadarite, lithium…

While the new pits are being prepared for the excavation, the old state-owned mines are in constant restructuring processes, problematic ownership structures, and some are even being rented on a monthly basis.

The British company “Mineko Limited” has announced the opening of a new lead and zinc mine in Serbia, near Bosilegrad. This company has been conducting exploration activities of lead and zinc in this municipality in the Pcinja district together with its partners since 2010. The initial explorations showed that there was enough ore to open “Bosil – metal” mine.

– The Study has been authorized for 1,700,000 tons of proven ore, and it turned out that the area is rich in the lead and zinc ore with the presence of copper. If everything goes according to plan, mine opening is planned for 2018 –”Mineko” reports.

Regarding the mining site at Bor, 65 million tons of ore with a medium copper content of 2.6 percent per ton and gold content of 1.5 grams have been discovered at Cukaru peki site. It has been estimated that the ore could produce 1.7 million tons of copper and 98 tons of gold. The year 2022 is mentioned as the final deadline for the opening of this mine.

When it comes to local pits, the situation is different because the most mines are in a bad financial situation.

– A little has been done on the restructuring of underground coal mines – says Milorad Panovic, the President of trade union of chemistry, non-metals, energy and mining “Independence”. – As far as non-ferrous metal mines are concerned, the largest gold mine “Lece” has an ambiguous status because it was privatized by Miroslav Bogicevic. The company from Dubai won the lease, and the State is extending the lease on a monthly basis. Only last year, gold worth 50 million euros was dug from the mine.

One of the oldest mines in the country is facing closing. Two mines, “Vrska cuka” and “Bogovina” are the first of a total of four mines within PE Resavica to be closed, most probably in February next year. The list also contains coal mine “Jasenovac” and coal mine “Ibarski rudnici”

The budget for 2017 foresees the costs for mine closing in the amount of EUR 41 million for subsidies in “Resavica”, instead of current EUR 36.2 million the mines received in previous years.

– The amount of EUR 4.8 million is planned for the implementation of the first phase of mines closing, reserves excavation and withdrawal of equipment from the pits, in accordance with Resavica Reorganization and Consolidation Plan – according to budget for 2017.

However, it is still not clear how exactly to solve the fate of 1,200 workers, who will be a surplus.

– Mines cannot be closed overnight – says Goran Nikolic from the Resavica trade union. – March 1 is the deadline to start the process of closing, but we have asked to prolong the process up to three years, depending on the facility. The question is whether they will allow it. At the same time, workers in production are likely to be transferred to other pits, and it is planned that 1,000 people working in the administration leave “Resavica”. The social program for these people should be adopted by March 31, 2017.

Jadarite opportunity

At the end of November, an Info-center was opened in Loznica, where one can get all information regarding investments in jadarite, a unique mineral that was discovered in this area.

A mineral composed of lithium and boron, which are widely used in industry, was discovered 12 years ago by geologists from the private company “Rio Tinto”, a subsidiary of “Rio Tinto Group”. Exploration activities are underway and Serbia will directly receive $ 20 million by the end of 2017. “Rio Tinto” is planning to start mine construction in 2019.

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