Serbia set to give green light to Rio Tinto lithium mine – by Marton Dunai, Alec Russell, Harry Dempsey and Alice Hancock (Financial Times – June 2024)

Exploitation of one of the world’s largest deposits of the metal would boost Europe’s electric vehicle industry

Serbia is preparing to give Rio Tinto the green light to develop Europe’s largest lithium mine two years after Belgrade called off the project, paving the way for a significant boost for the continent’s electric vehicle industry.

President Aleksandar Vučić said that “new guarantees” from the Anglo-Australian miner and EU looked set to address Serbia’s concerns over whether necessary environmental standards would be met at the Jadar site in the west of the country.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Vučić indicated that he was confident he would also secure the necessary commitments from EU leaders for related investments in Serbia, such as battery manufacturing and electric vehicle production.

As long as his demands over “the whole value chain plus perfect environmental protections” were met, Vučić said, he expected business and political leaders would come to Belgrade next month for a formal announcement on the project.

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