Serbia’s government hopes British-Australian mining group Rio Tinto to start lithium production at the Jadar mineral exploration project near the western town of Loznica before 2023, a government official said on Wednesday.
The government expects Rio Tinto to complete the project documentation and launch the mine soon, the assistant minister for the mining sector in the country’s energy ministry, Sinisa Tanackovic, said in a video file posted on the website of Serbian news agency Tanjug.
The coming years are very important for the Serbian mining sector, Tanackovic said during the seventh edition of the Mineral Resources in the Republic of Serbia international conference in Belgrade.
In July, Serbia’s government signed a memorandum of understanding with Rio Tinto related to the implementation of the Jadar mineral exploration project, enabling the creation of joint task groups, which would oversee the study phase of the project and the process of obtaining necessary permits.
Rio Tinto discovered a world-class lithium-borate deposit in the valley of the Jadar river in Serbia in 2004. The company said it plans to start production in 2023, assuming that feasibility studies confirm viability and all necessary approvals are obtained.
The Jadar lithium borate discovery in Serbia is 135.7 million tonnes with a weighted average concentration of 1.86% of lithium oxide, representing one of the largest lithium deposits in the world.