The Jadar Project

The Jadar project would be one of the largest greenfield lithium projects in the world.

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[1], 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.

[1] 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 focused on consultation with all stakeholders, including providing comprehensive factual information about the project. We believe that a public dialog based on facts is necessary to ensure that all options related to explore all options related to the project’s future are considered.

We are also long-term landowners and have made commitments to the community and suppliers. We will continue to honor our obligations despite our permits and licenses being cancelled.

Jadar Project Timeline

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

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.

Safety first

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.

  • Public consultations

    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

    1. Waste Ore Stockpile Catchment Pond
    2. Runoff Catchment Pond from the above-ground part of the mine
    3. Waste Rock Dump
    4. Process Water Pond
    5. Water Treatment Plant
    6. Processing Plant
    7. Production shaft
    8. Ventilation shaft
    9. Sound Barriers
    10. Runoff Catchment Pond from the Process Plant Zone
    11. Main entrance
    12. Entrance to the mine area
    13. Entrance to the Processing Plant (north entrance)
    14. Plant for drying and management of residues from the processing operation
    15. Processing Plant - Administrative Building
    16. Administrative Building of the Mine
    17. Mining material depot
    18. Industrial Railway Track

    Overview of the proposed Jadar Complex after closing.

    1. Water Treatment Plant

    The final solution will be developed in accordance with all regulations and consultations with the local community.

Brochures

Jadar Project - An Economic Impact Assessment

PDF, 1.74MB

Supplying Borates - Critical minerals for industries

PDF, 310KB

Building secure and sustainable supply chains

PDF, 704KB

Mining Lithium Sustainably

PDF, 434KB

Advantages of the proposed Jadar underground mine compared to open pit

PDF, 1MB