MINING & ENERGY 2021: Mihajlović – mining and energy will have a 10% share in Serbia’s GDP in 10 years

21st May 2021 – Color Media Communications and Diplomacy&Commerce magazine organized an online conference titled ‘Mining & Energy 2021’ on the topic of the Serbian mining and energy sector. 


The conference was supported by Rio Tinto, Teko Mining and Nexe Group.

The conference was opened by Zorana Mihajlović, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia and Minister of Mining and Energy. In her address, she underlined the importance of this sector for our country’s entire economy and pointed out the following:

This is a very important year for our Ministry because this year we are not only putting together an important legislative framework for the energy and mining sector, but we are also making very important decisions and embarking on a new, green and sustainable path in energy and mining. Our vision is for energy to be green because it can, must and should. In the same way, mining will be transformed into green mining in our country and worldwide. I would say that energy and mining are the most important resources, but just as important for environmental protection too, “said Minister Mihajlović.

She added that “mining is very important in Serbia, which has a centuries-long mining tradition” and that “there is no reason why Serbia should not take care of its mining sector while, at the same time, protect the environment.” She went on to say: “Today, mining accounts for 1.9% of the national GDP. Our vision is that mining will surely exceed 10% of GDP in the next 10 years; not only because Serbia has valuable mineral raw materials, both metallic and non-metallic, but also because Serbia has a good mining regulation, a law that protects the environment, and allows us to exploit quality minerals which are then used in the production of raw materials which we need to make semi-finished or finished products,” concluded Minister Mihajlović.

The next address came from H.E. Giles Norman, Ambassador of Canada to Serbia and H.E. Ruth Stewart, Ambassador of Australia to Serbia, who praised Serbia and its new laws and pointed out the importance and participation of the mining and energy sector in the GDP of their respective countries. They also said that they hoped that Serbia would be in a similar situation in the future.

Vesna Prodanović, General Manager of Rio Sava Exploration, Branko Zečević, Chairman of the Board of GRAS, Dejan Milijanović, Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Mining and Energy and Dr Aleksandar Jovović, a professor t the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Belgrade, took part in the first panel called ‘MINING POTENTIAL OF SERBIA – Current research and projects, the value of Serbia’s mineral wealth and contribution to GDP’.

Vesna Prodanović, General Manager of Rio Sava Exploration, stated that the Jadar project was truly one of the largest greenfield investments in Serbia.

The Jadar project is the largest greenfield investment in the past few decades, with close to $2 billion to be invested. Today, at the conference, we heard an important fact – if there were no mining, civilization would regress for centuries. The Jadar project has great potential because lithium is an element of the future and it is very important for the green transition that many countries in the world are striving for. Lithium is used in the production of batteries for electric cars, a market that has been growing unstoppably precisely because it is harmonized with sustainable goals. We are currently in the Feasibility Study phase and are working on a detailed environmental impact assessment study to define environmental protection measures. In all this, we cooperate with the local community and institutions, as well as scientific institutes. This cooperation is intensive, permanent and transparent,” Ms Prodanović pointed out.

Dejan Milijanović, Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Mining and Energy, talked about major reforms that are currently taking place in mining and energy, their importance and the biggest investments.

“We need to make remarkable progress in the coming period when it comes to mining and geological research in Serbia. We need to reconcile two irreconcilable facts – on the one hand, mining activity and environmental protection, on the other. That is our priority, our goal. We must show that mining activity can be performed in Serbia, but in a sustainable way. When I say that mining must be sustainable in Serbia that implies not mining at any cost, but mining following all the laws of nature and above all, nature itself. Mining also needs to be done in line with the domestic regulations and the highest standards, technical, European and global,” Mr Milijanović pointed out.

Miroslav Lutovac, Advisor to the President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia (CCIS), Dr Milan Parivodić from the Parivodić Law Firm, Dragan Milošević, Director of Terragold Belgrade and Aleksandar Vulović, a Mining Project Development Specialist took part in the second panel called ‘DEVELOPMENT OF MINING AND ENERGY IN SERBIA – Energy efficiency, development of mining and mining potential and circular economy’.

Miroslav Lutovac, an advisor to the president of the CCIS, underlined the importance of renewable energy sources:

“The goal is to increase energy effectiveness, not efficiency because efficiency, in general perception, is more about speed, while effectiveness is about the quality of what you do. We, as a country, are quite irresponsible, even indiscriminate about how we spend energy and our energy consumption per unit of product is several times higher than in the European Union, which in this case, should be taken as a reference. Before we deal with resources, we first need to try not to waste energy and that is the gist, namely to adjust production to real needs and to act responsibly,” said Mr Lutovac.

Aleksandar Vulović, a mining project development specialist, pointed out that we must explain to the public what modern mining means and its benefits.

“The current narrative is wrong. Not enough space has been given for sufficient arguments for the development of mining and new mines. We still speak about this topic from a negative perspective. We should keep pointing out that it is possible to have modern and safe mining. Positive and adequate solutions are possible. People should be allowed to see all sides and the positive impact that modern mining can have,” said Mr Vulović.

Andrea Radonjić, Principal Advisor Media & Communication at Rio Tinto, Majda Petković from Nexe Group, Vanja Krsmanović, Performance Drilling Engineer at TDE Thonhauser Data Engineering GmbH, Leoben, Austria and Valentina Čolić Mihajlović, Head of R&D and SME Partnership at the AFA Association participated in the third panel discussion titled ‘GENDER EQUALITY IN THE MINING AND ENERGY SECTOR – Women in Mining and Energy’.


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