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Serbia, Jadar project could be essential to Europe’s lithium supply scheme - Serbia Business

Serbia, Jadar project could be essential to Europe’s lithium supply scheme

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The EU wants to reduce its dependence on lithium imports from China, and therefore it is necessary to exploit its own lithium deposits, which are found in several countries on the old continent, including Serbia and Republika Srpska.

In an interview with Demostat, the expert of the German Mineral Resources Agency (DERA), Michael Schmidt, said that in Europe there are currently more than 15 projects in over 10 countries related to the exploitation of lithium.

As he specifies, the projects are located in Spain, Portugal, Finland, France, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and other countries. Schmidt states that Europe has the potential to significantly supply lithium from its deposits in 2030 – up to 40 percent of the assumed demand.

The EU is aware that, in order for this to happen, it is necessary to overcome obstacles, primarily the protests of the local population and long project approval procedures, but also to meet high environmental standards.

Schmidt believes that the Jadar project, previously developed by Rio Tinto, could be essential to Europe’s lithium supply scheme. He adds that this project could encourage the development of the processing industry in the wider area around the site. Asked if there is an environmentally friendly way to exploit lithium, Schmidt says there are many ways to implement sustainable mining.

The British-Australian company Rio Tinto invested 2.4 billion dollars in the Jadar project and planned to produce 58,000 tons of lithium carbonate per year. In January 2022, Serbia canceled the project after fierce protests by environmental organizations and citizens.When it comes to Germany, Schmidt says he sees the greatest potential for lithium mining in the hard rock deposits on the border between Germany and the Czech Republic, in the Ore Mountains area (Zinwald/Zinovec area), as well as in the Upper Rhine Valley, where lithium is found in salt water.

“We assume that industrial-scale production will begin in the late 2020s and early 2030s,” Schmidt said.
The Wolfsberg project in Austria, 270 kilometers southwest of Vienna, has been postponed several times.
Australian company European Lithium wants to excavate about 800,000 tons of lithium-bearing rock annually at an existing mine and produce about 11,000 tons of battery-grade lithium hydroxide from it.
Mining and battery company Keliber wants to start mining lithium in Finland from the Sivajarvi and Rapasaari mining regions in 2025.

For the planned annual production of 15,000 tons of lithium hydroxide, the subsidiary of the South African mining group Sinbanje-Stillwater is investing 588 million euros. The Cinovec lithium project, located in the Czech Republic, 100 kilometers from Prague on the German border, is considered promising. Experts believe that there are 7.3 million tons of lithium carbonate.

The development of the lithium and boron mining project in Lopara in Bosnia and Herzegovina is still at the very beginning, and according to estimates by the Swiss mining company Arkkor, there could be about 2.4 million tons of lithium carbonate at that location.

Blackstairs Lithium applied for further exploration permits for a project in Ireland in early 2022, but mining has not been well received by local residents and farmers.

French mining company Imeris wants to start production in 2028 and promises 34,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide per year from the Beauvoir mine, which will come from its own conversion plant.
In Cornwall, UK, which is a traditional mining area, the population is more open to mining projects than elsewhere.

In another project, for which a feasibility study is currently being prepared, the British plan to mine around 15,000 tonnes of lithium per year from 2026 in a kaolin open pit near Saint Austell.
It Is known that there are 60,000 tons of lithium reserves stored in the territory of Portugal.
Apart from the mine operated by Portugal’s Mota Group in the Guarda district, British company Savannah Resources’ Mina do Barroso lithium project is the most important lithium deposit containing the mineral spodumene in Europe.

Europe’s second largest hard rock deposit for lithium rests in an abandoned tin mine at the gateway to the city of Cáceres in Spain.

Originally planned as an open pit mine, the project caused a lot of resistance among the population due to its proximity to the old city, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

According to forecasts, it is expected that the global demand for the production of lithium-ion batteries in 2028 will increase by about ten times compared to 2017, reports Tanjug.


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