InoBat & Rio Tinto to set up battery recycling in Serbia


The Slovakian battery company InoBat wants to build a value chain for the production and recycling of electric car batteries in Serbia together with the mining group Rio Tinto. However, one important point is still open: The investment decision in the mine in Serbia.

The partnership is to cover the entire life cycle from raw materials to the recycling of lithium, according to Rio Tinto. At its core, Rio Tinto’s Jadar project in Serbia is apparently to be used. According to the mining company, this is one of the largest lithium projects currently under development “on a greenfield site” – i.e. in largely untouched nature. It should be possible to produce up to 55,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium carbonate there. Jadar is located southwest of Belgrade in the border region to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

InoBat not only wants to increase its production with the Gigafactory in Slovakia and secure it with regional primary products. “The signing of Memorandum of Understanding with Rio Tinto represents an important step in achieving InoBat’s goal to utilise a European-based value chain and support European bid for technological independence,” says InoBat CEO Marian Bocek.

The planned collaboration will also – according to Bocek, in line with the company’s “cradle to cradle” approach – establish a circular economy for batteries. However, details on the recycling, capacities and processes used are not mentioned in the statement.

“This collaboration with InoBat will enable an important exchange of knowledge and information on lithium processing, recycling and technologies for the next generation of batteries,” says Marnie Finlayson, managing director of Rio Tinto’s Borat and Lithium business.

There is a simple reason why it is only a declaration of intent so far: Rio Tinto has not yet decided to build the planned plant at all. Last year, the company invested around 200 million dollars in the final phase of the study for the project. This is expected to be completed in 2021.

An investment decision will then be made on this basis. If the plant is then also approved, the construction of the mine would take up to four years, according to Rio Tinto. “The scale and high grade nature of the Jadar deposit provides the potential for a mine to supply lithium products into the electric vehicle value chain for decades,” the company wrote.


about „InoBat & Rio Tinto to set up battery recycling in Serbia“
Simon T Burdett
02.06.2021 um 10:21
Dear Mr Randall, I think your article should elaborate on what "development “on a greenfield site” – i.e. in largely untouched nature" actually means. Has any EIA or SEA been done? Thank you. Simon
Chris Randall
02.06.2021 um 10:42
Dear Mr Burdett, Thank you for your interest in our news! At this stage, the MoU has just been signed and investments are being finalized by both parties, which would lead one to assume that an EIA or SEA has been done on the potential site, especially considering the partner's interest to "enhance local skills, environmental, social and governance standards." However, the information available to us at this stage does not explicitly mention environmental assessments. When more information becomes available, we will update the article with any relevant information and continue to report on the venture as it proceeds. Thank you for your interest and best regards, Chris
Zoe Lujic
02.06.2021 um 12:12
Der Mr Randall NO EIAs have been done / published so far, Rio Tinto does not even know how much ore there is in the ground!! But the Serbian government is hell bent on opening that mine regardless of all the catastrophic consequences that will have on Nature and people who live there and have stated that the opening of the mine is 'non-negotiable' as far as they are concerned. Again - no required studies have been published yet despite our several years long and repeated requests to see them! And there are no 'intentions' to enhance anything there. Actually, Rio Tinto's CEO showed up in Serbia yesterday without ANY prior announcement and only spoke with the local priest in the region where the mine is to be built. The local population knew nothing about it! But that is irrelevant actually as people in Serbia absolutely do NOT want that mine to be opened. Full stop. My organisation and our partners on the ground in Serbia - Zastitimo Jadar i Radjevinu / Protect Jadar & Radjevia who are on the front line working against the opening of this extremely harmful mine, would be very happy to provide you with relevant and correct information. Zoe Earth Thrive

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