Serbia’s Mining and Energy Minister Zorana Mihajlovic said on Thursday that Rio Tinto’s lithium mine project in western Serbia is strategically important for the country’s entire economy.
“We believe that all the conditions will be met in line with the highest environmental standards,” a press release quoted her as saying in a meeting with Bechtel Mining and Metals President Ailie MacAdam.
The Rio Tinto company plans to set up a lithium mining operation in the Jadar area met with fierce opposition not only from local residents in the area but also from environmental and political organizations across the country. Bechtel has been involved in several infrastructure projects in Serbia.
Mihajlovic said that she hopes Serbia will have a lithium mine as well as the full production chain from ore to batteries and an electric vehicle plant. According to the minister, the new law on renewable energy defines the framework for new investments, adding that there is room for Bechtel in renewable energy projects.
The press release quoted MacAdam as saying that Bechtel supports the Serbian government’s vision and goals for the energy transition process and expressed satisfaction over the possible engagement of the company in green mining and energy.
The meeting was attended by US Ambassador Anthony Godfrey.