If implemented, Jadar will produce lithium carbonate of a quality suitable for the production of batteries for electric cars and batteries for storing energy from renewable sources. In addition, Jadar would also produce borates used in the development of equipment for renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and wind turbines.
The proposed development of the Project includes the construction of an underground mine with associated infrastructure and equipment, including electrically powered trucks, as well as an ore processing plant for the production of battery-grade lithium carbonate.
In full production, Jadar would annually produce approximately 58,000 tons of lithium carbonate, 160,000 tons of boric acid and 255,000 tons of sodium sulfate, which would place Rio Tinto among the top ten lithium manufacturers in the world. According to this data, Jadar would produce 2.3 million tons of lithium carbonate over the expected mine life of 40 years.
The Jadar deposit contains a high-quality composition of boron and lithium, thanks to which it can support long-term production activities with the potential to supply lithium to the entire supply chain of electric vehicles over several decades. The Project in Serbia is developed and managed by Rio Sava Exploration d.o.o., a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, registered in Serbia in 2001 and licensed to conduct geological research.
 This production target was previously stated for a quantity of 55,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium carbonate as part of the announcement of the Australian ASX exchange of 10 December 2020, within the statement on ore reserves and the update of the estimation of mineral resources for the Jadar Project. All substantial assumptions supporting these production targets are still valid and have not changed significantly.
Jadar project update
In January 2022, the Government of Serbia cancelled the spatial plan for the Jadar lithium-borates project and revoked our licences related to the proposed lithium-borates project.
We believe the Jadar project has the potential to be a world-class asset that could act as a catalyst for the development of other industries and tens of thousands of jobs for current and future generations in Serbia, while sustainably producing battery-grade lithium carbonate, a material critical to the energy transition.
Our current activities are part of previously undertaken commitments related to the completion of internal studies and they do not contravene the decision of the Government of Serbia to revoke our licenses for the Jadar Project.
We are a long-term landowner and employer in the Loznica region and have made commitments to the community and suppliers. We will continue to honour these commitments despite the fact that our permits and licences have been cancelled.
We are focused on consultation with all stakeholders to explore options for Jadar’s future.
Overview of the activities on the Jadar Project
Our vision for the Jadar Project
Jadar is a world-class deposit, and our vision is to develop the proposed underground mine in a safe and sustainable manner, in cooperation with the Government of the Republic of Serbia, local communities and all stakeholders. Our goal is to develop successful industrial and production activities and create long-term benefits for Serbia, the local community, our company and customers.
We listen to input and feedback from our stakeholders and the local community, and work to clearly and openly communicate about the opportunities and potential risks if the Project and how we would manage them.
Our strategy is to develop the Jadar Project in a safe and sustainable manner, in cooperation with the Government of the Republic of Serbia, local communities and all stakeholders.
We listen to input and feedback from our stakeholders and the local community, and work to clearly and openly communicate about the opportunities and potential risks if the Project and how we would manage them. We do not yet have all the answers, but through the work on the development of the Feasibility Study and the Environmental Impact Assessment Study, we are consistently working to identify innovative ways to enhance the Project. By conducting studies, we find ways to improve the proposed solutions and mitigate the risks.
There is nothing more important than the safety of our workforce. We strive for a zero-harm work environment and believe that all incidents and injuries are preventable. We identify, manage and where possible, eliminate risks. This starts right from the beginning of project design.
We would develop and operate Jadar in accordance with the highest health and safety standards to ensure the wellbeing of employees and contractors onsite. We would use the latest technology to achieve this, for example:
- Advanced automation to do risky jobs
- Modern high-capacity ventilation system with electric refrigeration to ensure optimal temperatures for wokr (Jadar would be one of the few mines in the world to use such a system); and
- Electric vehicles used in the underground mine to reduce emissions and improve air quality.
More than 2 million safe working hours
By the end of May 2023, we have recorded over five years without a lost time injury at work.
Key activities in the project development
Geological surveys of the deposit and minerals testing in the pilot plant
Since the discovery of the deposit and the beginning of geological exploration in 2004, more than 400 wells of different diameters have been drilled in the licensed areas of the Jadar and Korenita, and more than 200 km of cores have been collected for sampling and analysis. This enabled, among other assessments, more than 2,000 tests to be carried out on our Mineral Processing Pilot Plant at our Technical Development Centre in Bundoora, Melbourne, Australia. During geological investigations, our team used the best available technology and innovative methodologies to create a detailed model of the ore body, which allowed the Project to progress through different stages of approval.
The Jadar Project Pre-Feasibility Study
During this development phase, Rio Tinto's local and international experts assessed the technical and economic viability of the project. This included completing studies on the ore body, testing new methods to utilize and process the minerals, conducting studies on various solutions for the underground mine, as well as collaboration with local experts in conducting environmental and socio-economic analysis. All of these initiatives provided a strong foundation for the efficient and responsible development of the project.
Special Purpose Area Spatial Plan for the development of the Jadar deposit
Spatial Plans of the Special Purpose Area (PPPPN in Serbian) regulate the planning, development of project designs and the required infrastructure. These plans adhere to the strict guidelines and standards defined by the Law on Planning and Construction of the Republic of Serbia. These plans provided the basis on which the Special Purpose Area Spatial Plan (SPASP) of the Jadar Project was developed.
The local community had an insight into the SPSPA through public consultations, in compliance with Serbia’s laws and regulations. The public inspection period lasted one month, from November to December 2019. This included public presentations in Loznica and Brezjak on December 11, 2019. The printed copies of the SPSPA were made available to all interested citizens at information centres in Loznica and Brezjak.
Feasibility Study and Environmental Impact Assessment Studies
Prior to the adoption project’s permits and licenses being revoked, Rio Tinto had planned to work on the development of Environmental Impact Assessment Studies for the proposed underground mine, processing plant, and the waste management solutions. The Environmental Impact Assessment Studies would help provide a comprehensive picture of the environment prior to commencement of mining activities, as well as to identify potential impacts, including cumulative impacts, and mitigation measures.
As soon as the Feasibility Study and the Environmental Impact Assessment Study are completed, all Environmental Impact Assessment Studies would be made available to the public to ensure public consultation.
Commencement of construction
Construction activities would only commence after obtaining all the necessary permits and approvals.
Overview of the proposed Jadar Complex
- Waste Ore Stockpile Catchment Pond
- Runoff Catchment Pond from the above-ground part of the mine
- Waste Rock Dump
- Process Water Pond
- Water Treatment Plant
- Processing Plant
- Production shaft
- Ventilation shaft
- Sound Barriers
- Runoff Catchment Pond from the Process Plant Zone
- Main entrance
- Entrance to the mine area
- Entrance to the Processing Plant (north entrance)
- Plant for drying and management of residues from the processing operation
- Processing Plant - Administrative Building
- Administrative Building of the Mine
- Mining material depot
- Industrial Railway Track
Overview of the proposed Jadar Complex after closing.
- Water Treatment Plant
The final solution will be developed in accordance with all regulations and consultations with the local community.