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Recently, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić has reapproved Rio Tinto’s stalled Jadar lithium project.

According to President Vučić, Serbia is preparing to support Rio Tinto’s lithium mining and processing again two years after Belgrade called off the project. He stated that besides new guarantees from the global mining giant for its investment in Jadar, the EU is also about to provide commitments regarding the value chain and environmental protection.

Rio Tinto never ceased its development efforts in Serbia. The Serbian government halting investments in the proposed lithium mine and processing facilities in January 2022 due to massive environmentalist protests, and now President Vučić has now reopened the doors for the project when the time is deemed right.

In an interview with the Financial Times, he hinted that the new guarantees from the Anglo-Australian mining giant, coupled with expected commitments from the EU, could break the project’s approval deadlock. Vučić also noted that EU leaders would provide assurances for investments in electric vehicles and battery factories.

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According to the Financial Times, Vučić’s requirements involve “the entire value chain along with perfect environmental protection.” If the expected agreements are reached, he anticipates a formal restart of the project in Belgrade in July. If successful, operations at the mine are expected to commence in 2028.

Additionally, Vučić noted that the Jadar facility could produce 58,000 tons of lithium annually, which will cover 17% of current European electric vehicle output, equivalent to 1.1 million vehicles.

The Financial Times also cited Fastmarkets, stating that Europe currently has almost no domestic lithium production. The Jadar area contains high-grade lithium, with the deposit being large compared to other global mines. The lithium yield from Jadarite minerals in the Jadar region could meet 13% of Europe’s expected demand by 2030.

Source: WeChat Official Account—青蓝能源

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