Rio Tinto shares slump as Serbia pulls plug on its $2.4 bln lithium project - Reuters
Jan 21, 2022 1 min, 5 secs

It is also a major setback for Rio (RIO.L), (RIO.AX), which was hoping the project would help make it one of the world's 10 biggest producers of lithium, a key ingredient in batteries.

The mine is Rio's only lithium project and the company announced just a month ago a deal to buy a second lithium asset for $825 million, as it looks to build its battery materials business.

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic told a news conference in Belgrade that the decision came after requests by various green groups to halt the $2.4 billion Jadar lithium project that had planned to start production in 2027.

The Australian government said it regrets Serbia's decision to revoke Rio's licences.

Rio has already spent US$450 million in pre-feasibility, feasibility and other studies on Jadar to understand the nature of the deposit, the company said in a project fact sheet in July.

At full capacity, the Jadar mine was expected to produce 58,000 tonnes of refined battery-grade lithium carbonate a year, making it Europe's biggest lithium mine by output.

Experts said the world's shortage of lithium had been forecast to last for another three years at least, but with the cancellation of the Jadar project, the shortfall would now last for several years.


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