Canadian company Ultra Lithium has commenced geological exploration for lithium and boron reserves at the location “Bela zemlja” near Blace, in southeastern Serbia. Should profitable amounts be found, the investment into the mine could amount to anywhere between 500 million and one billion Canadian dollars. The production of lithium, which is irreplaceable in the modern IT and communications industry, represents a big chance for the economic development of Serbia, and could improve the position of the state at the mining map of the world. Tamara Prodanovic has more on the subject.
The exploration will be done on the surface of 643 square kilometers, and the partner company to Ultra Lithium will be Chinese enterprise Betek. If the project turns out to be profitable, China will invest the capital to assist in the development of the project, because the state geological institute is the majority owner of the company. The research is based on the estimation that Serbia hold some 20% of the world reserves of lithium, which is used in batteries and electric vehicles, and it is expected that the demand for this mineral will increase by 200% in the next ten years. The big opportunity is reflected in the fact that thanking to the exploitation of these reserves, estimated at 227 million tons, by the end of the decade Serbia could offer close to 90% of the European and 20% of the world production of lithium. It will all be possible with the opening of a mine in the Jadar basin near Loznica, in western Serbia, as planned for 2015.
So far, lithium is the only mineral resource in Serbia whose future production and processing will have certain impact on the global market. The Jadar basin, with amounts and contents of lithium and boron in the ore, is one of the most significant in the world, and it is assessed that from the annual production Serbia could earn around 124 million dollars. Lithium is the material that the modern era longs for, because it is used for the manufacturing of lithium batteries for cell phones, computers and cars with hybrid or electric engines.
Besides that, the exploration of jadarit mineral reserves is but one of many in Serbia, because in 2011 the opening of 127 research fields was approved, and in 67 locations the reserves of gold, copper, molybdenum, lead and zinc are researches as well.