A senior official of the Rio Tinto company said on Monday that the company has set aside 2.4 billion Dollars for the Jadar lithium mining project in western Serbia if it gets the necessary permits.
“Rio Tinto has earmarked 2.4 billion Dollars for the Jadar project if we get all the relevant permits and licenses,” a press release quoted Rio Tinto CEO: Minerals Sinead Kaufman as saying. According to her, the greenfield project has been planned to meet the highest environmental standards. Kaufman, the Rio Tinto official in charge of the Jadar project, recalled that geologists discovered lithium in the area in 2004, adding that the company is engaging with local communities, the Serbian government and civil society.
The project met with fierce opposition from the local population in the Jadar area including gatherings to protest plans to expropriate farm land. Critics say that the project will cause wide-spread pollution.
The press release said that Rio Tinto Chairman Simon Thompson and Kaufman visited the region around the border town of Loznica where the project is planned to be launched. It quoted Thompson as saying that Serbia should use the opportunity because of the increasing demand for lithium in the global energy transition.