That the government does not ignore the prospects of lithium mining can be seen from the fact that it is also mentioned in the draft of the National Energy and Climate Plan, about which the Ministry of Mining and Energy organized a public discussion in June and July, Hristina Vojvodić from the Regulatory Institute for Renewable Energy told NIN and the environment (RERI).
As she explained, this document represents the basis of the energy policy of every country that has accepted this public policy document and is one of the most important documents in the field of energy and climate change.
“From an inconspicuous table in that document, we learn that Serbia plans to produce 600,000 tons of lithium/boron and other related products in 2030, and it is expected that the same physical production will remain until 2050,” Vojvodić pointed out.
Bearing in mind that the Regulation which repealed the spatial plan of the special purpose area for the implementation of the Jadar project is in force, she believes that the logical question arises – on the basis of which data did the Ministry arrive at these projections?
The Ministry soon “clarifies” doubts and explains that the data was collected from “relevant interested parties”, but to this day we remain denied an answer as to which relevant interested parties were consulted, emphasized Vojvodić.
Adding to the confusion is the fact that even Rio Tinto did not count on that much production in its plans.
Until now, the public has been dealing with estimates that within the framework of the Jadar project, around 58,000 tons of refined lithium carbonate for the manufacture of batteries, 160,000 tons of boric acid and 255,000 tons of sodium sulfate would be produced annually. All together, therefore, 473,000 tons.
Does this mean that the authorities expect that by 2030 someone else, besides Rio Tinto, will start exploiting lithium? To whom and what perspectives does the eventual mining of lithium in Serbia, which Minister Momirović mentioned, open up.
The words of Luka Erceg, a native of Canada, originally from Loznica, master of law and economics and director of a company in the USA that manages investments, have even greater specific weight. All the more so since until 2013 he ran a company for the production of lithium in the USA, about which he spoke to the leading world media, the New York Times, Bloomberg and CNN, and in 2012 he spoke about strategic minerals in the US Congress.
“The Jadar project will never be able to compete economically with lithium extraction projects from salt water, which are being developed around the world.” I would recommend that Serbia explores old oil and gas sources, because in many of them, economically profitable amounts of lithium have been found,” Erceg claims.
“Extraction from salt water is more economical and can withstand falling prices.” If we insist on the Jadar project, it will be shut down in a few years, because lithium from salt water will lower the price. “More and more such will arrive from the “lithium triangle,” which consists of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile,” predicted Erceg.
“Moreover, lithium for car batteries is not obtained from rocks, because it has too many impurities,” explains Erceg, noting that everyone forgets that lithium batteries last for ten years and can be recycled afterwards.