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Chinese-Serbian relations are ‘friendship of steel,’ Minister says

Serbia’s Mining and Energy Minister Dubravka Đedović Handanović held a meeting on Monday (9 October) with the newly appointed China’s Ambassador to Serbia Li Ming to discuss bilateral relations and the continuation of cooperation in the energy and mining sectors.

“China is one of the most important economic partners of the Republic of Serbia. Thanks to the friendship of our presidents, Aleksandar Vučić and Xi Jinping, our cooperation has intensified in recent years to reach the level of friendship of steel, especially in the mining sector where we have achieved excellent results,” said Minister Dubravka Đedović Handanović.

The Minister said that the mining sector significantly contributes to the growth of industrial production in Serbia, with Chinese company Zijin Mining Group playing a significant role.

“The Ziđin company has so far invested more than 2.5 billion dollars in Serbia, while with the recent signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on the development of the Lower Zone of the Čukaru Peki copper and gold mine in Xiamen, Ziđin confirmed its intention to invest an additional 3.8 billion dollars, which will mean increase in production of ore and concentrates as well as additional investments,” noted Minister Dubravka Đedović Handanović.

Together with the mentioned Memorandum signed last month, Serbia also signed a separate Memorandum of Understanding to develop a 300 megawatt (MW) solar power plant project with Zijin.

“Thanks to the strategic partnership with the Ziđin Mining Group in Serbia, Ziđin Koper, the economic environment in Eastern Serbia has been improved, jobs have been saved and new workers have been hired with average salaries significantly higher than the national average,” the Serbian minister said, adding that special attention is paid to improving standards in areas of environmental protection.

Minister Đedović Handanović informed that the construction of the Kostolac B3 thermal power plant is in its final phase.

“The capacity of the Kostolac B3 thermal power plant will be 350 megawatts, and it is also the first production plant in the portfolio of the Electric Power Company of Serbia after three decades. The new facility will meet all the highest standards of environmental protection and will make a major contribution to the security of the supply of electricity to citizens and the economy. “The Ministry monitors the performance of the works on a weekly basis and we hope that soon, despite all the challenges and unplanned difficulties, we will complete the construction of this large capacity for the production of electricity, in accordance with all regulations and the regulatory framework,” said the Serbian minister.

Ambassador Lee said that he is convinced that bilateral cooperation will continue on an upward trajectory. He pointed out that Serbia is China’s closest friend in Europe and that there is a lot of room for deepening the “steel friendship” in the mining and energy sector and renewables, for which there is great interest from Chinese companies.

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