Serbia does not have the strength to raise the ore rent

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Although the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, believes that the ore rent in Serbia cannot be easily changed, the expert public believes that it is unrealistically low, but also that the state does not have the space to condition foreign investors to accept its growth.
As a reminder, when asked by a journalist during his visit to Loznica whether the ore rent in Serbia would be increased, at least for lithium, whose deposits are being examined in the Macvan area, President Vuciv answered that “the ore rent cannot be changed so easily.”
– You cannot easily change the ore rent, because you will not be able to make an agreement with either the Russian NIS or the Chinese, who entered into large investments and who helped us a lot by taking Bor and saving us. And counting on that ore rent, they took and bought the Timok mine from the Canadians – said Vucic on that occasion.
Economic analyst Branko Pavlovic disagrees with the president’s position because, as he says, ore rent lower than its real value is bad for Serbia’s economic interests.
– Ore rent must always be at a realistic level. This means that one should never go below it unless there are some other strategic agreements with partners useful for the interests of the state. When ore rent is formed, one should always start from how much it amounts to in the countries where the companies that exploit ore or oil in Serbia come from. Accordingly, they should not pay a lower ore rent than the one prescribed in the countries they come from. That should be the case in Serbia as well. Not only when it comes to the possible exploitation of lithium, but also when it comes to other ores in our country – Pavlovic is categorical.
According to him, it is also wrong that the state itself does not exploit and explore the mineral resources of Serbia, but gives that opportunity to foreign companies.
– Serbia needs to find a partner with whom it would jointly participate in the exploration of ores in our area. Instead, the right to research is given to foreign companies that will benefit financially from it instead of being realized by the state – Pavlovic states.
Energy expert Vojislav Vuletic agrees with the opinion that the ore rent in Serbia is very low, but he believes that the state cannot change much on that issue.
– It would be best if the state exploited all the mineral resources in our country. Unfortunately, we do not have the strength for that and we have to give that opportunity to foreign companies on our territory. The ore rent is low, but I think that the authorities in the country could not increase it because it would demotivate the companies that explore ores in Serbia to exploit ores in our country, but would go to a country that offers more favorable conditions on that issue – Vuletic points out.
Commenting on President Vucic’s statement that the state will determine how much lithium ore will be exported from Serbia and how much will remain for the needs of factories it plans to build in our country (such as battery factories), Vuletic emphasizes that the authorities in the country should insist on when talking to foreign investors in the mining field.

– When it comes to factories that would produce batteries and other lithium products, the state should help domestic companies that would deal with that area. We used to have those factories and there is no reason not to have them again – says Vuletic.
Economist Milan R. Kovacevic told Danas that it is necessary to increase the amount of ore rent in Serbia.
– It has been shown that mining research and ore exploitation affect the ecology, so because of that, but also because of the needs of the budget, the ore rent should be raised. When it comes to the research of lithium ore in Serbia, it would be good to know whether the state has already made an agreement with those who do it, so that they are lower than the real value – states Kovacevic.
The amount of ore rent in Serbia at this moment is from three to seven percent of the realized income.
Lithium borate reserves in the deposit near Loznica are estimated at around 135 million tons. The “Jadar” project, developed by the mining company Rio Tinto in Serbia, includes one of the world’s most important lithium borate deposits.
Jadar is a deposit of a new lithium-sodium-borosilicate mineral, jadarite, discovered in 2004 near Loznica in western Serbia.
Rio Tinto has so far invested more than 130 million dollars in the development of the “Jadar” project, and if the investment is approved, the planned construction of mines and processing plants could start in 2021.
Jadarite ore was recognized as a new mineral in 2007, Danas reports.