The future of mining in Serbia - lithium mine

21.Jan 2021.

Jadar is an important project for Rio Tinto, but also a significant investment that will have an impact on the Serbian economy, says Todd Diebold, the manager at Rio Tinto in charge of the Jadar project.

Electric vehicles, a completely modern operational center, the application of 3D technology, are innovations that will make the employees of this mine, as he says, the workforce of the future, and the development of Jadra will, as announced earlier, bring Serbia an investment of 1.5 billion USD.

Todd Diebold states that Rio Tinto supports new technologies to track the movements and fatigue of workers, and vehicle management systems are contributing to the advancement of these company values. As a significant element, he states that Rio Tinto has an extremely integrated and automated supply chain, so that the company can respond to the customer chain in the best possible way.

Diebold says that Rio Tinto supplies the world with the materials necessary for its progress, since most of the things we use, from mobile phones, coffee machines, as well as buildings, come from lithium. Therefore, as he points out, mining enables modern life. In search of that goal, in the early 2000s, the company sought borate for production in Southern California. Then, in Serbia, they found a specific lithium borate ore, which they named, after the place where it was found – jadarite. Diebold says that one of the most important lithium deposits in the world is located here in Serbia, and that when it comes to the company’s plans with “Serbian kryptonite”, the company will not export minerals, but will refine the product to the final state.

When it comes to the importance of lithium and borate, the Diebold value of this ore is not in question. He explains that they can find their application in different areas. Lithium, he says, can be used for batteries for electric vehicles, borate for insulation as well as for fertilizers in agriculture.

Work in accordance with environmental regulations

What is also a relevant element of business for Rio Tinto is environmental protection.

Todd Diebold points out that environmental regulations are of great importance for this company. He states that Rio Tinto has long been a pioneer in this field, and that he will continue to innovate in the future.

– We started a story about sustainable mining. We have tried to use better solutions that make our business more sustainable. Rio Tinto uses electric, self-driving, carbon-free vehicles. We will have that in Jadar as well – he explains.

He also notes that Rio Tinto controls all of its operations, “which we have made sure to comply with the law.”

– Environmental regulations are very important for us. Everything we build is in line with that. This is how we will work with Jadar, in order to be safe, productive and environmentally sustainable – Diebold points out.