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Who is building a gigafactory of batteries for electric cars in Serbia and what does it have to do with Rio Tinto?

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Inobat, a company based in Slovakia, announced the day before yesterday that it will build a so-called giga-factory for the production and recycling of electric car batteries in Serbia, in Ćuprija, after a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between this company, IFC (International Finance Corporation, which is part of the World Bank), the city of Ćuprija and the Ministry of Finance.

This news went rather unnoticed, without publication on the Government’s website, although the Inobat website also mentions the statement of Prime Minister Ana Brnabić at the time of signing, nor on the website of the Ministry of Finance, which is a co-signatory of the Memorandum, even though it is potentially the largest investment in Serbian industry so far.

The announcement by Inobat states that the state will support the construction of the factory with 419 million euros in incentives. Not counting the Fiat factory in Kragujevac, which is a joint venture of the state and an Italian company, this would be the largest subsidy for an investment.

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Although we do not have a lot of information about the entire project, scattered information and statements on domestic and foreign websites in previous years give a picture of the project codenamed “Lion”.
In November last year, Inobat signed a statement of intent to build a gigafactory here with the Government of Serbia.

At that time, it was announced in the media that the construction of a factory with a battery production capacity of up to 32 gigawatt hours per year is planned. In the first phase, it is planned to build a facility with a capacity of four gigawatt hours by 2025.

According to Reuters, each phase will cost 350 million euros. The Ministry of Economy said that the planned investment value is over 2.3 billion euros, with the employment of more than 2,100 workers.

“The estimate is that 74 ha of land is needed for the construction of production facilities,” they stated, adding that the Memorandum is not binding in nature, but expresses the readiness of the parties for the implementation of the proposed project.

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