Rio Tinto: Life around Jadar mine will be safe, production from 2026

Source: Reuters/Patrick T. Fallon/File Photo

The CEO of Rio Sava Exploration, Serbia's subsidiary of the Rio Tinto Group, Vesna Prodanovic, said that on Thursday, the products from the Jadar mine in western Serbia would include lithium carbon boric acid and sodium sulfate.

At an online presentation of the mining process, she said that numerous improvements had been made in the pilot plant to make the process better and safer and that production should start in 2026.

Prodanovic added that the process would be new but that individual parts were already being used in the world and that all risks had been considered.

Wayne Sentans, the head of processing at the Jadar project, said that about 1,600 pieces of equipment and 200 people were needed for everything to function safely.

„The key thing is that 99.95 percent of sulfuric acid will be used in these reactions (processing of jadarite). So the acid is depleted as part of this reaction, and there is no residual sulfuric acid,“ he said of the potential impact of sulfuric acid on the environment.

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Prodanovic added that the company’s idea was to improve the life of the locals, to establish a partnership and make those who would remain in the area realise the project would be safe for their life and health.

The latest presentation comes amid protests of Serbia’s environmental activists against lithium mining and their warnings about its potentially disastrous effect on nature and people.

However, local authorities ignored the warning and paved the way to the Rio Tinto mine.