The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, met today with the delegation of Rio Tinto led by Executive Director Jakob Stausholm, with whom he discussed current and potential projects, as well as modalities of comprehensive cooperation that would not be limited to ore exploration and exploitation, but on the wider economic development of the Macva district and the whole of Serbia.
President Vučić expressed his gratitude to the representatives of the company for their readiness to discuss open issues, as well as for their commitment and understanding regarding the requirements for transparent work and fulfilment of the most demanding conditions in the field of ecology.
“All projects that will be implemented in this area must meet the highest environmental and technological standards because there is no healthy economic development without preserving a healthy environment,” said President Vučić, emphasizing that the state will rigorously supervise the application of the strictest environmental measures.
Representatives of the company informed President Vučić about the current course of work in Serbia and emphasized that by the end of the current year they will complete the feasibility study phase, as well as the Study on Environmental Impact Assessment in order to start the exploitation of the jadarite mineral. By the end of 2021, a total of 450 million dollars will be invested in Project Jadar – in geological research, development of processing technology, preparation of studies and project preparation.
The interlocutors agreed that the strategy of cooperation between Rio Tinto and the Republic of Serbia must include a long-term contribution to the development of the local community, a responsible attitude towards the environment and general economic prosperity.
“Having in mind that the jadarite deposit is one of the largest in the world in terms of lithium content, I expect that a full chain of added value will be established in cooperation with the state, not only for the Macva district and the city of Loznica but for the whole of Serbia,” pointed out the President and added that, in addition to the future mining and industrial complex Jadar, he expects that the project will be followed by factories for the production of batteries and products that depend on lithium, in order to create as many new jobs as possible. CEO Stausholm emphasized that Rio Tinto remains committed to building long-term partnerships.
“As a company, we strive to establish relationships of mutual respect with landowners, the local community and the Government of the Republic of Serbia, but also with all other partners throughout the entire period of operations,” said Stausholm, adding that the company is ready to cooperate with the state in order to contribute to economic local development.
He pointed out that a team of experts from all over the world in the field of geology, mining, production technologies and environmental protection is working to bring this project in line with the highest global standards, which sets the platform for a large mining and metallurgical greenfield project such as Jadar that represents a total investment worth of 2 billion dollars in Serbia.
The meeting was also attended by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia Ana Brnabić, the Minister of Mining and Energy Zorana Mihajlović, the Minister of Environmental Protection Irena Vujović and the Advisor to the President of the Republic for Investments, Danilo Cicmil.