Serbia’s Mining and Energy Minister Dubravka Đedović Handanović signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Saturday (9 September) with Chinese company Zijin Mining Group to develop a 300 megawatt (MW) solar power plant project.
During the signing ceremony, Minister Đedović Handanović signed a separate Memorandum of Understanding confirming the Chinese company’s plans to invest an additional 3.5 billion euros for the development of the lower zone of the Čukaru Peki copper-gold mine.
“Thanks to today’s memorandum, which includes 3.8 billion US dollars of new investments, Serbia will rank among the largest European copper producers and leading gold producers, but also create the possibility for additional investments, of course with the obligation to apply the highest environmental standards.” “Also, the investment of Zidjin Mining in a solar power plant worth 200 million US dollars will enable the synergy of renewable energy sources and mining, as well as better environmental protection, because the use of energy from coal and fossil fuels will be reduced,” the Serbian Minister said.
The memorandums were signed as part of the One China, One Serbia Investment Forum, which was held during the 23rd China International Investment and Trade Fair in Xiamen, China.
Closing the forum, Minister Đedović Handanović noted that Zijin Mining Group is “one of the pillars of the cooperation” between Serbia and China and emphasised that the memorandums begin “a new era” of even stronger ties, which are “based above all on the friendly relations between the two presidents, Aleksandar Vučić and Xi Jinping.”
The Serbian Minister invited other Chinese companies to invest in Serbia and said that Serbia has gained the reputation of a “rising star” in foreign direct investments (FDI) thanks to a four-fold increase in foreign capital from one billion to 4.4 billion US dollars between 2012 and 2022.
“We gained our reputation thanks to outstanding economic results, which are reflected in stable economic growth, reduction of unemployment, constant improvement of business conditions. Bearing in mind the challenges of the energy transition, the energy crisis, the need for new production capacities and the growing need for mineral raw materials, we expect energy and mining to be one of the drivers of economic growth and development in Serbia in the next decade,” Minister Đedović Handanović said.
She added that to achieve sustainable development goals in Serbia, around 15 billion euros of energy investment are needed, primarily in renewable energy sources, reversible hydroelectric plants, and gas power plants, as well as significant investments in the development of the transmission and distribution network and the construction of gas interconnectors with neighbouring countries.
“Mining is a sector leading the growth of industrial production in Serbia, with a 22 per cent growth in 2022 compared to 2021, in which Zijin has significantly contributed, employing around 7,700 people in our country. Serbia is rich in critical minerals, which presents a unique opportunity in the 21st century, and our goal is to use the mineral wealth we have in a rational, responsible, efficient and sustainable manner for the sake of future generations,” Minister Đedović Handanović said.