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Serbia ‘will have to’ engage with Rio Tinto on Jadar project, minister says

Serbia’s Mining and Energy Minister Dubravka Đedović Handanović said on Thursday (25 January) during a guest appearance on “TV Hepi” that her government will have to engage in discussions with British-Australian mining company Rio Tinto regarding the “Jadar” project.

“Rio Tinto has been present in our country since 2004, obtaining permits and acquiring land. They have certain rights; they have initiated legal processes against our state and we will have to discuss all of this with them after the formation of the new government,” the Minister said.

Minister Đedović Handanović pointed out that lithium is a strategic mineral with increasing demand in the EU and the world due to the energy transition and the growing electrification of transportation. However, she emphasised that it is up to Serbia to examine how the country can utilise this opportunity.

“Serbia is rich in lithium and other mineral resources, and it is up to us to see how we can utilise the natural wealth we possess. The potential exploitation of lithium would contribute to the improvement of the Loznica region and western Serbia, opening hundreds of new jobs in the years ahead, with a minimum wage of 1,000 euros and significant GDP growth. We need to develop undeveloped areas rich in natural resources, but in a sustainable way, respecting all environmental protection standards,” the Minister said.

Serbia’s Energy Minister comments on Jadar lithium project

“We have not had the opportunity to see the Environmental Impact Assessment Study, nor have public consultations and debates on the project’s impact on the environment been held. There are international standards in mining that ensure quality, security, and safety to ensure sustainable mining,” Minister Đedović Handanović highlighted.

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