Politicians in Serbia are lobbying for Rio Tinto which is accused of corruption

“If we link that news to the fact that the politicians in power are lobbying so much for one Rio Tinto project after numerous independent experts declared that lithium mining will ecologically destroy Serbia, their motives seem very suspicious,” Manojlovic says for Danas daily.

He recalls that, before the elections, certain politicians in power said that they were done with Rio Tinto and that lithium mining was a finished story.

“They agreed to meet the demands of the people, have changed the relevant regulation and now they are starting to lobby for this company again.

At the same time, we hear that Rio Tinto settled with the American Securities Commission (SEC) to pay a fine of 15 million dollars, after an investigation into bribery in which a consultant from Guinea was also involved,” Manojlovic adds.

To remind, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced charges against global mining and metals company, Rio Tinto plc, for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) arising out of a bribery scheme involving a consultant in Guinea.

The company has agreed to pay a $15 million civil penalty to settle the SEC’s charges.

The SEC’s order finds that, in July 2011, Rio Tinto hired a French investment banker and close friend of a former senior Guinean government official as a consultant to help the company retain its mining rights in the Simandou mountain region in Guinea.

The consultant began working on behalf of Rio Tinto without a written agreement defining the scope of his services or deliverables. Eventually the mining rights were retained, and the consultant was paid $10.5 million for his services, which Rio Tinto never verified.

The SEC’s investigation uncovered that the consultant, acting as Rio Tinto’s agent, offered and attempted to make an improper payment of at least $822,000 to a Guinean government official in connection with the consultant’s efforts to help Rio Tinto retain its mining rights, Serbian Monitor reports.

Calcium Carbonate Industry, Reshaping the Market Growth, Serbian supplier to match European industrial demand

Serbian Belkalhan calcium carbonate mine with its 99% highest quality and deposits confirmed could push local and European pharmaceutical industry forward with competitive supply options.

Considering the fact that Serbia is at the doorstep of EU market, which has its supply chains severely disturbed, Serbian calcium carbonate supplier could match the needs of its European customers.

In the same Belkalhan calcite mine and company operations can serve as trading hub toward third markets as Serbia has several key free trade agreements with large markets.

Europe is the fastest growing region with a market demand increase of 8.4% by 2030 because of the favorable legal and regulatory environment, coupled with a coherent industrial strategy.

Calcium carbonate is a chemical compound with the formula CaCO3. It is a common substance found in rocks as the minerals calcite and aragonite (most notably as limestone, which is a type of sedimentary rock consisting mainly of calcite).

Serbian calcite deposits are confirmed with 99% of purity and whiteness which makes it a unique quality deposit in Europe, highly attractive for pharmaceutical, chemical, paper, food, wine and other industries.

The demand for precipitated calcium carbonate increased from the pharmaceutical and residential water treatment sectors of the region during the lockdowns imposed in the world to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Pharmaceutical market calcite application remains stable high by 2040 and European market is one of the key players, including both pharma producing companies but also investors and funds.

Automotive application of calcium carbonate is the fastest growing segment with market demand increase of 7.5% by 2030 owing to the growing utilization of the product in power trains, electrical components, interior furnishes, exterior furnishes, and chassis, dominantly monitored by European customers, but also investors and funds.

One of the most significant trends in calcium carbonate technology is the development of new and improved methods for manufacturing calcium carbonate from calcite deposits. 

This has led to the production of calcium carbonate that is of a higher quality and purity than ever before. Belkalhan calcite deposits are already highest of quality with 99% of whiteness and purity which makes them perfect match for industrial application.

This has in turn allowed calcium carbonate to be used in a wider range of applications, including in the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries.

The global precipitated calcium carbonate market size is expected to reach USD 23.39 billion
by 2030, expanding at average 8% until 2040. This is attributed to the rising inclusion of the product in the automotive and pharmaceutical industries.

In addition, the rise in the standard of living along with the improvement in the hygiene standard has led to the increasing usage of tissues and packaging paper. This, in turn, is likely to positively impact the demand for the precipitated calcium carbonate market in the coming years.

The pulp & paper application continues to grow at a significant rate on the account of the
rising demand for precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC) due to its operational flexibility.

Some factors favoring the usage of the product in the paper industry are high brightness and relatively low price, and the attainment of a porous surface of the paper sheet due to the rhombohedral particle shape.

Key market players are investing in the onsite manufacturing of calcium carbonate for large- scale industries. The organizations in the sector are focused on the development of new products with various properties to cater to industry demands. Belkalhan calcite mine exploitation technology concepts are fully adjustable to customer special demands in terms of product and package.

Belkalhan calcite mine offers limestone quarries and form a high level of value chain integration by supplying natural & unprocessed limestone, processing the raw materials according to customer’s demand, and distributing the product.

Belkalhan is the Serbian based mining exploitation company focused on graphite and calcite. The company aims to utilise unique quality of raw materials for application in industry high tech products like batteries, pharmaceuticals and chemicals.

Having all exploitation permits secured and underground mine technology developed, Belkalhan aims to support overall economy transformation. R&D center for high tech critical raw materials supply remains primarily goal in which we seek reliable, institutional partner investor.

More informations could be found on: belkalhan.eu

Serbian team on the threshold of scientific discoveries: batteries without toxic and rare materials

One of the main tasks of scientists around the world in recent years is to work on storage of large amounts of energy, i.e. batteries that would store the generated energy and thereby contribute to a more efficient energy transition.

Among the numerous researchers is a group of six young scientists from Serbia who are looking for a battery that would not contain extremely toxic and at the same time rare materials such as lithium or cobalt.

Under the name HiSuperBat (Healthy super battery) they have created a system that does not contain lithium and cobalt but calcium or magnesium, and also uses an aqueous electrolyte that is not flammable and toxic like commercial organic electrolyte.

Doctor Milica Vujković, who manages the project, states that the development of such battery systems could be an excellent energy solution, because thereby the usage of expensive and scarce lithium will be avoided, the cost of the battery will be reduced and safety will be increased…

That is why the search for new, cheap and safer materials, capable of storing a large amount of multivalent ions, is of great importance and is the subject of numerous researches in the world, including the HiSuperBat project, which received 180,000 euros.

Their two-year project, which ends at the end of 2022, is one of 59 selected projects supported through the Promis project supported by the Science Fund of the Republic of Serbia.

“The project is focused on the development of electrode materials for the next generation of electrical energy storage devices, based on more naturally occurring elements such as calcium, aluminum, and magnesium,” Milica Vujković, a research associate at the Faculty of Physical Chemistry, said for the N1 portal.

She points out that all young experts have expertise in the synthesis and structural study of micro/nanomaterials, electrochemistry, batteries and supercapacitors, that the project has provided new fundamental and practical knowledge in the field of energy storage, which has been published in 11 international scientific journals and 18 conference announcements.

Materials have been developed that can store a large amount of multivalent ions per unit mass.

“On the one hand, carbon material has been developed as an electrode material for supercapacitors of the latest generation, which can store large amounts of aluminum, magnesium and calcium ions on the basis of charge.

A supercapacitor was constructed at the level of a single cell, with carbon electrodes obtained from waste biomass (from the wine industry) and an aqueous electrolyte based on aluminum positive ions, whose optimal operating voltage in terms of long-term charge/discharge is 1.5 volts (V), which is half a volt more than a classic water supercapacitor,” she says.

These results were published in the prestigious electrochemical magazine Journal of Power Sources, and were done in cooperation with Montenegro and Slovenia.

In addition, the young scientists showed how the voltage and capacity properties of the carbon cathode can be improved by mixing aluminum and calcium ions.

Vujković also points out that a cathode material for batteries based on vanadium oxide has been developed that can store a large amount of calcium ions, showing higher capacities compared to the storage of lithium ion charges.

“By combining the aforementioned carbon material as an anode, calcium vanadium oxide as a cathode and an electrolyte based on calcium salt, we assembled a hybrid cell that has an optimal voltage of 1.4-1.5 volts (V).

The advantage over classic lithium-ion systems is that the constructed battery cell does not contain lithium and cobalt, and uses an aqueous electrolyte that is not flammable and toxic like commercial organic electrolytes,” she says.

As a disadvantage, Vujković cites a lower voltage compared to a commercial lithium ion cell due to the use of an aqueous instead of an organic electrolyte.

“However, something like that could be replaced by sequentially connecting more cells, which would produce a heavier battery.”

For this reason, their potential application is currently limited to systems where weight and volume are not limiting and price plays a primary role”, says our interlocutor.

Production in Serbia

The research was started with the idea that potential discoveries can be made in Serbia. It is the same now. Milica says that the constructed carbon supercapacitor as well as the hybrid cell have the potential to be produced in Serbia.

“Their performance is obtained at the level of a coin-shaped cell, which would enable application in some everyday needs: watches, toys, kitchen scales, car keys, calculators…” she states.

However, before this could happen, additional experiments are necessary in terms of optimizing cell performance.

“There is room to improve the material’s performance and overcome its weak points, and we have several ideas in mind that could be implemented.”

After the completed phase at the laboratory level, the transfer of knowledge to the industrial sector would entail testing the reproducibility of the synthesis of the given materials on a larger scale and their functionality, as well as the optimization of the cell assembly procedure for mass needs.

Such batteries would have the potential to replace lead accumulators or nickel-cadmium water systems, and theoretically speaking, they would also have the potential for application in large stationary energy storage systems connected to renewable sources, where price and safety are more important than mass and energy,” Vujković points out. 

Contemporary world research

Modern world research is focused on the development of different types of batteries, based on different chemistry.

For the development of all types of batteries, it is important that they can be used in different applications, because each type of battery has certain advantages and disadvantages. Milica, on the other hand, points out that you never know in advance what can be discovered through research.

“For now, the market is mainly dominated by Lithium-ion batteries based on carbon as the anode, organic electrolyte containing lithium ions, and lithium-nickel-cobalt-manganese oxide (NMC) as the cathode.”

However, we are aware of the fact that lithium is a limited resource and that its reserves will not be able to meet the future needs of the galloping electric car industry,” she points out.

“I am convinced that the situation in that field will also change significantly.” As for our research, in the course of the project, in addition to the development of carbon and vanadium oxide, we also started the development of new types of cathodes for sodium ion batteries, based on sodium and iron.

Therefore, the further direction of our research, in addition to the improvement of the developed multivalent model, will also be focused on the development of the sodium ion system, with the aim of obtaining the best possible model not only in terms of energy, but also in terms of price and environmental acceptability.

Of course, I expect that this type of research will be recognized through future national and international calls to which we apply”, concludes Milica Vujković.

Calcite battery industry to match lithium demand and high risks, Serbian mine could provide reliable supply 

Calcium ions could be used as an alternative technology to lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), bringing benefits as a result of their abundance and low cost. Serbia could be one of the top suppliers of calcium carbonate for battery production as it has the highest confirmed quality of calcite deposits of 99% pureness even attractive for high tech pharmaceutical and chemical industry.

Due to a significant disturbances in the supply chain in Europe, there was an interruption in the consistent delivery of materials. Serbian calcite and graphite mine Belkalhan.eu, its availability and cost effective exploitation makes this project highly attractive for investment and R&D JV project.

Time to Take a Calcium Battery Seriously

Calcium is 2,000 times more abundant than lithium, and is available locally in Europe. We find it in anything from bones to chalk in fact. Calcite / calcium carbonate is one the most abundant elements on the earth’s crust,’ adds Dr. Palacín of Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid.

‘It’s not as geographically concentrated as lithium is. This could make a battery inexpensive because the raw material is cheap.’ His team’s calcium battery prototype is already proving promising. Europa.Eu reports the material forms a successful negative cathode with twice the electron exchange as lithium.

‘As any calcium travels through the electrolyte, two electrons would travel outside (instead of one with lithium),’ Dr. Palacín explains. ‘One could imagine that for the same battery size, the range would be higher if you used it in an electric vehicle.’

Why Develop a Calcium Battery Now?

Lithium batteries are making a significant contribution to stored energy. However, their success could become their downfall as scarce lithium prices skyrocket, and the green circular economy becomes paramount. Moreover, the silvery metal is dangerous to handle according to Europa.Eu, questioning its sustainability further.

Europe alone may demand 60 times more lithium by 2050 to fulfill the need for electric vehicle batteries.  Not to mention renewable energy storage that will form the backbone of reaching its emissions goals.Meanwhile lithium mines, many in remote locations are struggling to meet 2022 demands and are opposing serious environmental opposition.

Calcite batteries are surely becoming more attractive for industry usage but also for investors seeking sustainable returns. Serbian academic and technology institutions could serve as excellent ground base for joint venture R&D projects and later its industrial usage. Competitiveness of local Serbian market could be another driver for Joint venture with calcite mine developer Belkalhan company which has all the preconditions meet including permits and location infrastructure managed.

Serbia, Jadar is a project that will have to do with the modern economy

The United States Ambassador to Serbia, Christopher Hill, said that Rio Tinto is not just an ordinary mining project because it will have connections with the modern economy and said that he is trying to cooperate with the Government of Serbia on this issue and that the US is trying to support Rio Tinto, which is partly although not entirely an American company.

I think it’s important for Rio Tinto that people understand that this is not just a mining project. This is not just a project where something is taken out of the ground and exported. This is a project that will have to do with the modern economy.

In the end, the lithium extracted from the ground will be used for the production of batteries that will be installed in electric vehicles, said Hill in an interview with the portal Glas Šumadije.

He said that he is trying to cooperate with the Government of Serbia on this issue, and that the US should come to support Rio Tinto, which is partly, although not entirely, an American company.

I think it’s very important that everyone involved in this project has to respect the environment, and that’s the number one rule, Hill said.

The ambassador pointed out that “we should make an effort to point out to citizens the need for this project to connect them with the green agenda, the green economy, because that’s where they belong”.

Hill assessed that it is a very complex issue that should be dealt with by the people living in this area.

I’m sure everything will be fine if everyone works together and keeps the needs in mind in the future, Hill concluded, Danas reports.

New Graphite supplier from south Europe could become industrial primary supplier of critical raw material

Demand for Global Graphite Market Size To Hit EUR 30 Billion by 2028

The Belkalhan graphite mine in South Serbia is one of most suitable resources –it is based on the 16,6% high-quality graphite deposit which even has been designated as mineral deposit of national interest in EU. With 4 million tons of reserves confirmed on only 25% of project location, the project offers highest possible potential to owners and its future new shareholders which are willing to join forces in this unique R&D critical raw material exploitation.

Belkalhan mining exploitation company confirmed that new drills on graphite intersections are underway with preliminary results showing the same 16,6% or higher quality.

The location of the mine, with its numerous competitive advantages on infrastructure/logistics/processing/ and R&D facility are in the parallel focus of Belkalhan development teams supported by experienced mining experts and university mining institutes.

Belkalhan teams are developing and engineering future processing facility designs along with tailor made exploitation and processing technologies which will fit the local landscape with highest environment and social impact standards and action plans. Stakeholder actions plans are under development as well as its strategic investor relations strategy already operational and due to the large number of inquiries from Asian markets.

Belkalhan remains devoted to its primarily strategic orientation and goal toward opening R&D center thru JV which will be local community based and which will could serve as technology transfer center for Serbian and European industry.

Potential JV partnership and investment will enable Belkalhan to integrate downstream into the manufacturing of graphite products for a number of high-growth markets including lithium ion batteries/EVs, fuel cells, graphene and nanomaterials, thermal management in consumer electronics, smart building products and fire retardants. Graphite deposits with unique European quality makes the mine one of the most attractive in Europe.

More informations on project potentials at belkalhan.eu

Serbian calcite exploitation company Belkalhan opening supply channels toward Europe industrial users for delivery contracts 2024/2025

Serbian based Mining development and exploitation company Belkalhan, the owner of biggest confirmed reserves of calcite/calcium carbonate announces client invitation for supply contracts for year 2024,2025.

Pharmaceutical, chemical, food industry in Europe could benefit from this new supply source, making it reliable source in Europe. The scope of application of calcite is so wide making it almost essential resource in processing industry.

With its highest confirmed unique purity, quality and various industry application, Belkalhan calcite materials reserves could become Europe prime supply location for industrial application. Each industrial user of calcium carbonate have its specific materials requirements and Belkalhan is ready for its client technology application but also processing & delivery adjustments im accordance with client needs.

Intersected Deposits of Calcite as calcium carbonate resource has 99,99% purity and 98% whitenesses in the deposit line of 15m thickness and 125m height, the length of 720m of confirmed deposit which indicates extremely rare deposit quantity and quality which makes it a unique world resource.

Calcium Carbonate is used in several applications in the industrial, concrete, and oil markets.  Highly purified forms of calcium carbonate are also used in the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical markets. In the oil drilling industry, calcium carbonate is sometimes added to drilling muds and completion fluids to increase the density of the fluids.  In industrial, concrete, and building applications, calcium carbonate is used as a chemical building block for the preparation of building materials.

The purified calcium carbonate powder that Belkalhan supplies for pharmaceutical applications is used in the preparation of various medicines and tablets such as antacids. It is also used as an acid neutralizing agent in certain food and beverage preparations that require a balanced pH level.

Belkalhan supplies calcium carbonate as a fine white powder or granulation for use in industrial and pharmaceutical applications. Belkalhan offers different grades of calcium carbonate – technical grade calcium carbonate is used as a chemical building block, as a base, and as a source of both calcium and carbonate anion. We also can supply pharmaceutical grade calcium carbonate which is used in certain medical preparations such as nutritional calcium supplements and antacid tablets.

More informations on project potentials at belkalhan.eu

Serbia: Starting in June 2022, Rio Tinto bought land worth at least 1.2 million euros in the vicinity of Loznica

Starting in June 2022, Rio Tinto bought land worth at least 1.2 million euros in the vicinity of Loznica, despite the fact that the Government of Serbia suspended the company’s lithium mining project “Jadar”, the Balkan Research Network (BIRN) announced.

BIRN also obtained a document from the company’s meeting with the Delegation of the European Union, in which, among other things, it is stated that Rio Tinto looks favorably on the local, and fears a potential national referendum on the “Jadar” project that was supposed to be carried out. in the vicinity of Lozica.

After a series of protests by environmental activists across the country and blockades of bridges and roads, the Government of Serbia, led by Ana Brnabić, stopped the “Jadar” project on January 20 last year and canceled all documents with the company Rio Tinto.

However, part of the public was not convinced that the project was completely suspended, but pointed out that it was only “frozen” until more favorable socio-political circumstances, reports Beta.

BIRN research shows that the mining corporation has definitely not “put an end” to the project. Only from June 2022 until today, the company has purchased at least 5.78 hectares of land in the vicinity of Loznica.

By cross-checking data from the Republic Geodetic Institute, BIRN found that Rio Tinto signed at least seven sales contracts with land owners in the villages of Gornje Nedeljica and Slatina – the first in June 2022 and the last in January 2023 – paying a total of more than 1.2 million euros.

The smallest contract is worth 15,000 euros, which is what Rio Sava, the Serbian subsidiary of the mining giant, paid for property on 457 square meters in Slatina, and the largest is 430,000 euros – what the company paid for almost 5,000 square meters, also in the municipality of Loznica.

Rio Tinto does not hide its desire to “revive” the project. Rio Tinto Ltd CEO Jacob Stausholm (Jakob Stausholm) said at a briefing for investors in Sydney in December last year that “Jadar” represents “unbelievable value”.

“We have to figure out how to do it. The only thing I would say today is that we didn’t give up,” Reuters reported his statement.

In a reply to BIRN, Rio Tinto points out that “the purchase of land is a continuation of previously assumed obligations of the Rio Sava company that refer to the period before the Government of Serbia in January 2022 invalidated the acts for the implementation of the project”.

Rio Tinto did not answer the additional question about what kind of “previously assumed obligations” are we talking about, considering that the contracts were certified months after the decision of the Government of Serbia, and the last two almost a year after the suspension of the project.

Serbia, Future with non-metals

How and in what way can the economy and economy of Serbia get out of the crisis the fastest and in the long term? This question was asked several times in the recent and distant past, but also in the previous days, during the formation of the new government.

For this reason, in Niš, the largest urban and industrial center, but also in the entire south and southeast of the country, the story of the inexhaustible and, by all accounts, the greatest mineral wealth of our country was initiated again. In the Regional Chamber of Commerce, Slobodan Milosavljević, secretary of the Committee for Chemistry, Pharmacy, Rubber Industry, Mines and Non-Metal Industry, told Politika:

– Our chamber is preparing a big meeting for the beginning of June, with the working title “Non-metals – materials of the future of Serbia”, at which we plan to present the huge wealth that this part of our country has, which has already been proven by numerous studies. A lot is known about this wealth, but, unfortunately, so far, not even a fraction has been used, although it can bring prosperity not only to this part of our country, but also to the whole of Serbia.

Decades ago, Milosavljević points out, scientific workers from our country and abroad pointed to the wealth that Serbia has in non-metals. Even so, it didn’t start from a standstill:

– At the end of the 1960s, researches irrefutably confirmed the existence of one large string of pure and finest calcite on Suva mountain. The reasons why the exploitation never started are not known, but it is known that it is not only about that one wire, but also that the whole Suva mountain is in calcite, which is also used in the pharmaceutical, rubber and, especially, in the paper industry. This was recently said by the well-known expert for non-metals, prof. Dr. Siniša Milošević, head of the Institute for Non-Metal Technology IDNMS. The country of Serbia would have an annual income of more than half a billion euros only in the first level of processing, in packaging and transport to industrial plants. If, with the provision of the right and necessary infrastructure, a second level of processing for the exploitation of calcite would be organized, the benefit would be measured in billions of euros on an annual basis.

The situation is similar with the wealth of Stara Planina and other parts of southeast Serbia, says Slobodan Milosavljević:

– There are inexhaustible reserves and priceless values of granite on Stara planina. Although three decades ago there was an attempt to exploit granite on the route between Knjaževac and Pirot, which is why a sample of extremely high-quality stone from this mountain was sent for expertise to Italy, from where the results of the top quality of the granite arrived, nothing was done after that. Just as Serbia’s great wealth in phosphorus, not far from Bosilegrad, is not being used either. For years, as far as is known, the well-known “Viktoria Group” has been looking for a strategic partner, but nothing is being done. In the simplest process of micronization of phosphorus, phosphorus fertilizer can be obtained in this part of our country, and with further organized processing – phosphoric acid.

At the upcoming meeting in Niš, as planned, the Regional Chamber of Commerce will also present the wealth of Serbia in its south and southeast, such as basalt in Kopaonik, zeolite in the vicinity of Vranje or bentonite in the Svrlji mountains. It is a great natural resource, the like of which is not found anywhere in the vicinity, but which is not used at all or is used only sporadically and little.

Serbia stomps on Rio Tinto’s lithium mining project

In Serbia, Rio Tinto then faced a rude shock. The Serbian government, having praised the potential of the Jadar project for some years, abruptly abandoned it. “All decisions (connected to the lithium project) and all licenses have been annulled,” Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić stated flatly on January 20. “As far as project Jadar is concerned, this is an end.”

Branabić insisted, somewhat disingenuously, that this decision merely acknowledged the will of voters.  “We are listening to our people and it is our job to protect their interests even when we think differently.”

This is a bit rich coming from a government hostile to industry accountability and investment transparency.  The same government also decided to begin infrastructure works on the jadarite mine before the granting of an exploitation permit. Such behaviour has left advocates such as Savo Manojlović of the NGO Kreni-Promeni wondering why Rio Tinto was singled out over, for instance, Eurolithium, which was permitted to dig in the environs of Valjevo in western Serbia.

Zorana Mihajlović, Serbia’s mining and energy minister, preferred to blame the environmental movement, though the alibi seemed a bit forced. “The government showed it wanted the dialogue … (and) attempts to use ecology for political purposes demonstrate they (green groups) care nothing about the lives of the people, nor the industrial development.”

Rio Tinto had been facing an impressive grass roots militia, mobilised to remind Serbians about the devastating implications of proposed lithium mining operations. The Ne damo Jadar (We won’t let anyone take Jadar) group has unerringly focused attention on the secret agreements reached between the mining company and Belgrade. Zlatko Kokanović, vice president of the group, is convinced that the mine would “not only threaten one of Serbia’s oldest and most important archaeological sites, it will also endanger several protected bird species, pond terrapins, and fire salamander, which would otherwise be protected by EU directives.”

Taking issue with the unflattering environmental record of the Anglo-Australian company, numerous protests were organised and petitions launched, including one that has received 292,571 signatures. Last month, activists organised gatherings and marches across the country, including road blockades.

Rio Tinto’s response to the critics was that of the seductive guest keen to impress: we have gifts for the governors, the rulers and the parliamentarians. Give us permission to dig, and we will make you the envy of Europe, green and environmentally sound ambassadors of the electric battery and car revolution.

The European Battery Alliance, a group of electric vehicle supply chain companies, is adamant that the Jadar project “constituted an important share of potential European domestic supply.”  The mine would have “contributed to support the growth of a nascent industrial battery-related ecosystem in Serbia, contributing to a substantial amount to Serbia’s annual GDP.”  Assiduously selective, the group preferred to ignore the thorny environmental implications of the venture.

The options facing the mining giant vary, none of which would appeal to the board.  In a statement, the company claimed that it was “reviewing the legal basis of this decision and the implications for our activities and our people in Serbia.” It might bullyingly seek to sue Belgrade, a move that is unlikely to improve an already worn reputation. “For a major mining company to sue a state is very unusual,” suggests Peter Leon of law firm Herbert Smith Freehills. “A claim under the bilateral treaty is always a last resort, but not a first resort.”

Another option for punters within the company will be a political gamble: hoping that April’s parliamentary elections will usher in a bevy of pro-mining representatives. By then, public antagonism against matters Australian will have dimmed. The Serbian ecological movement, however, is unlikely to ease their campaign. The age of mining impunity in the face of popular protest has come to an end, Dissident Voice writes.