Serbia mining: The Energy Future of Serbia Lies in the Lithium

27. July 2017. / Mining

A memorandum of understanding signed yesterday between the Government of Serbia and company Rio Tinto should enable the implementation of the “Jadar” Project, which is related to lithium exploration in the vicinity of Loznica. Production is planned to start in 2023.

It is a world – class lithium deposit that will be able to generate more than ten percent of the world’s lithium production, and the memorandum was signed in the Government of Serbia by the Serbian Minister of Mining and Energy Aleksandar Antic, the Managing Director at Rio Tinto Uranium and Borates division, Simon Trot and General Manager at Rio Sava Exploration ltd, Richard Storrie.

The signing was attended by the Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and Australian Ambassador Julia Fini, and the Prime Minister Brnabic and Minister Antic had previously held a meeting with the representatives of the British-Australian company Rio Tinto in the Serbian Government.

The company, which is one of the world leaders in the exploitation of ores, is performing extensive activities in the vicinity of Loznica, where within the Jadar Project it examines the unique mineral composition of lithium ore.

The Jadar Project, under the auspices of Rio Tinto Minerals, represents a significant world-class lithium and boron deposits. The company invests in technical, economic, and in social and environmental studies to create the conditions for the responsible implementation of the project.

Due to the high concentration of lithium and boron – as well as geological deposit estimated to amount to 200 million tons – Jadar is considered to be one of the largest lithium deposits in the world.

The lightest metal on the planet has a wide array of applications in the products manufacturing, especially for batteries for hybrid vehicles and power driven vehicles.

The deposit also contains boron, which is the basic ingredient in the manufacture of heat resistant glass, glass fibers, ceramics, fertilizers, detergents, wood preservatives, as well as in the manufacture of many other products that are used in the households and for commercial purposes. Boron is also used for insulation that makes buildings more energy-efficient, as well as in the production of screens for televisions, computers and smartphones.

The project is currently in the phase of developing a Pre-feasibility Study.

A team of international experts from various fields (from mining, processing , up to relations with the local community) is finalizing studies that are an integral part of the pre-feasibility study in order to provide more detailed assessment of the technical and economic sustainability of the project.

Both target products of the project, lithium and boron, play an important role in a more energy-efficient future. This role, among other things, is reflected in the use of lithium for the production of batteries for electrically driven vehicles, as well as in the use of boron in the production of glass fiber insulation and the construction of windmills.

The Superman story

A team of Serbian and American geologists employed at Rio Tinto company discovered a deposit containing a mineral called Jadarite in the vicinity of Loznica in 2004. The valley of the Jadar River in Serbia is still the only place in the world where this mineral is found.

Completely by chance, jadarite has almost the same chemical composition as the kryptonite, the fictional mineral in the famous Superman story.

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