Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said that the government and the mining company Rio Tinto are planning to jointly seek a potential strategic partner to open a factory for the production of electric batteries or electric cars in Loznica.
During the visit to the company’s branch in Loznica, which is working on the Jadar project entailing exploration of the jadarite mineral (lithium ore), Brnabic said that the potential partner would use lithium and the rest of Rio Tinto’s chemical plant as the base for the production of the final product.
“This is important not only for Loznica, but for the whole country. Rio Tinto’s project has already put Serbia on the world map,” said Brnabic, reiterating that the project “can really change our country for the better”.
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Brnabic said that Serbia has to wait for three very important events and that the first is concluding an agreement with Rio Tinto to transfer its laboratories to Serbia and all the complex analyses that are done in the company’s research centre in Australia.
Construction of the Serbian facility is expected to begin by the end of 2021, said Brnabic, and the search for a partner for the construction of the factory that will produce the final product is also of crucial importance.
Energy Minister Aleksandar Antic said that “if everything goes as planned, the exploitation of jadarite ore will begin in late 2024 or the beginning of 2025”. The opening of the mine will cost around $1.5 billion.
He noted that the geological surveys have been completed and that Rio Tinto will carry out a feasibility study in the next 18 months, adding that the company has already invested over $200 million in research at the Jadar site.
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