Lithium is powering the green energy transition. Serbia can become a strategically important supplier of this key metal, opening the door to considerable economic value for the country.
The unfolding energy transition to a world less dependent on fossil fuels is resetting worldwide demand for metals and minerals. Lithium has rapidly emerged as one of the winners. In line with surging adoption of electric vehicles, demand for the white metal is forecast to treble by 2030. New supply sources will be required to meet the needs of a clean energy future. With global investment of over €1 trillion forecast in the e-mobility sector by 2030, the near-term potential for battery mineral producing nations is vast.
The Jadar lithium-borate discovery in western Serbia ranks as one of the world’s largest undeveloped lithium deposits, capable of catapulting Serbia into the ranks of major lithium-producing nations. The opportunity for Serbia, however, goes beyond rejuvenation of its mining sector. Bordering the European Union, with an open economy and well-developed infrastructure, the country is positioned to build on its geological endowment to become a regional hub for the development of downstream lithium industries including battery cell manufacturing, electric vehicle production, and beyond.
Jadar’s potential economic impact
The Jadar project would be one of the largest ever greenfield investments made in Serbia. An economic impact assessment carried out by Ergo Strategy Group confirms that it has the potential to be a transformative investment. Our analysis estimates that it would generate around €700 million annually of direct value add, and increase GDP by an amount equivalent to more than 3% of current GDP once indirect and induced effects are considered.
At full production, the project is expected to contribute over €180 million a year in taxes and royalties to national and municipal governments. In terms of employment, the project anticipates creating around 1,300 permanent jobs. We forecast that, once multiplier effects are taken into account, the project will support at least 4,500 new jobs throughout the economy.