German geologist: “Serbian lithium important for Europe’s independence from China”

Michael Schmidt, Senior Analyst at the German Mineral Resources Agency (DERA), says that there are currently over 15 lithium exploitation projects in Europe in various stages of development, namely in Spain, Portugal, Finland, France, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and other countries.

As Demostat writes, the EU’s goal in this matter is clear – it has to reduce its dependence on China when it comes to the key raw material for batteries.

In order for this to be achieved, Europe has to exploit its own lithium sites in several different countries, including Germany, the Czech Republic, France, Portugal and Serbia, Demostat writes.

Europe has the potential to extract and process a part of the necessary lithium, but, according to Demostat, the EU is aware that, in order for that to happen, there are certain obstacles that need to be eliminated, primarily the local population protesting against lithium mining, the long approval procedures and high environmental standards that need to be met.

Schmidt adds that Europe has the potential to cover up to 40% of its lithium demands by 2030.

In the case of Serbia, Schmidt says that the country has unique and large sites of lithium and boron.

He adds that the Jadar project, previously developed by Rio Tinto, was among the biggest hard-rock sites in Europe.

“This project and the products generated there could be of essential importance for the European supply with the view of Europe reducing its dependency on China,” Schmidt points out and adds that the project could incite the development of a processing industry in a wider area around the site.

“The same applies to the Euro lithium project near Valjevo,” he notes.

When asked whether there was an environmentally acceptable way of exploiting lithium, Schmidt said that there were many ways to implement sustainable mining and mining operations, but to ensure this, regulatory frameworks need to be in place, as well as certain mining standards met.

(eKapija, 27.04.2023)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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