Rio Tinto signs MoU with Serbia to advance lithium project

Rio Tinto signs MoU with Serbia to advance lithium project

Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) has signed a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Serbian government for the advancement of a highly prospective lithium-borate deposit called the Jadar project.

The MoU outlines how the Jadar project will be developed, with joint working groups to be formed groups between the mining giant and the government over the course of the study and permitting phases.

The project is currently in the middle study stages, with Rio set to make its final investment decision by 2020, after which construction work will commence immediately.

First production is scheduled for 2023, assuming that feasibility studies confirm the economic viability of the project, along with the obtaining of necessary approvals.

Rio’s energy and minerals chief executive Bold Baatar said: “Rio Tinto sees Serbia as an attractive investment destination and the Jadar project is an important part of Rio Tinto’s growth portfolio.

“A project of this magnitude requires time and expertise to design and bring into operation. We can only do this with the support of the Serbian government and local community.”

Rio believes that the Jadar project contains one of the largest lithium deposits in the world, and could supply over 10% of the world’s lithium demand alone.