What kind of waste would the Jadar Project generate?
The Jadar Projectwould generate two types of waste: mining waste from the underground mine and processing residue generated from the refining of Jadarite into products: lithium carbonate, sodium sulfate and borates.
What form would processing residue be in?
Processing residue generated by ore processing would be dry, unlike “liquid” processing residue, which is most common for this type of mine, and is typically deposited in tailings ponds. Dry processing residue is generated by filtering the processing residue under pressure, and then partially drying it in a rotary furnace. Through this process, the moisture is reduced to the optimal level for safe transport. With most of the moisture removed, dry processing residue can be spread in layers and compacted to form a stable structure. Compacted processing residue reduces storage requirements, water permeability, dust generation, and allows for progressive rehabilitation.
Where would mining waste and processing residue be stored?
The Jadar Project would generate two types of waste: mining waste from the underground mine and processing residue generated from the refining of jadarite into final products. Waste would not be stored in the middle of the river valley. The envisaged landfill location is Štavice valley, 10km from the Jadar site, outside the flood plain. This was selected after more than five years of studies which established this location would have the least impact on the local communities and environment.
How will you ensure that the mining waste and processing residue storage location is safe for the environment?
To prevent leakage, the mining waste and processing residue storage location would have multi-layer protective coatings. These would be clay and synthetic layers which are 5 metres thick, which is in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Serbia. We would also implement a system for collecting, treating and recycling leachate (seepage water). The mining waste and processing residue storage location would be surrounded by channels for diverting the leachate to reduce contact with clean rainwater. The storage location would be designed to withstand earthquakes in accordance with international standards and those of the Republic of Serbia. The storage location is not in the flood area. As the residue from ore processing has the potential to generate dust, we would use on-site dust suppression and progressive rehabilitation techniques. We would monitor dust levels in real time through dust monitoring stations. Our team would work closely with the local weather monitoring station to anticipate and prepare for changes in weather conditions.
Can dry processing residue be decomposed in contact with precipitation?
The mining waste and processing residue storage location is planned in the Štavice Valley, which is not an area with high levels of groundwater, nor is it located in the flood-prone area. Precipitation is planned to be diverted from the storage location and collected for further treatment. Waste and processing residue would be compressed to a high degree of impermeability, to the point of being almost watertight, therefore it is unlikely that precipitation could affect the dry waste decomposition.