Rio Tinto has invested $2.4bn in the construction of the Jadar lithium-borates project in Serbia.
Construction for the project is expected to begin next year and initial production is slated for 2026, with a ramp-up to full production in 2029. The mine has an estimated lifetime of 40 years with production at 58,000mt of lithium carbonate per year and 2.3mn mt over the mine’s lifetime.
The project is still awaiting an exploration license and different approvals to commence construction. One of these approvals is that from the environmental impact assessment (EIA) studies, to be made available for the public to comment.
However, the company’s plans, have been met with several protests over concerns about the possible environmental impact of the mine despite the miner’s assurance to take the right precautions in order to preserve the environmental wellbeing of the area. The company also added that the approvals from different authorities will further confirm the plant’s ability to remain environmentally friendly.
The Jadar project includes an underground mine with electric haul trucks and a beneficiation chemical processing plant. It will also use dry stacking of tailings, among other things, during construction to reduce the environmental impact on the community. Water from recycled sources or treated mine water will account for approximately 70pc of the water used at the mine.