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BELGRADE (Serbia), May 14 (SeeNews) - Rio Tinto is looking to improve its battery technology position through the Jadar lithium borate project in Serbia, the CEO of the Anglo-Australian mining group said on Tuesday.
"We are looking at options to grow our position in minerals relating to battery technology. A good example of this is our lithium project, Jadar, in Serbia," Jean-Sebastien Jacques said at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Metals, Mining & Steel Conference held in Barcelona, according to a transcript of his speech published on the company's website.
According to media reports, Jacques also said that a study on the Serbian deposit should be completed in around 18 months, after which the company would update the market.
Rio Tinto discovered the lithium borate deposit in the valley of Jadar river in 2004 and plans to start production in 2023. Jadar is estimated to contain 10% of the world's deposits of lithium, the primary raw material for the production of batteries for electric vehicles. The Jadar lithium borate discovery is estimated at 135.7 million tonnes with a weighted average concentration of 1.86% of lithium oxide, representing one of the largest lithium deposits in the world.
In April, Marnie Finlayson, the country head for Serbia of Rio Tinto, said the company is drafting the project documentation for the construction of the Jadar lithium borate mine. Under current plans, Jadar will be an underground mine, with the opportunity for future expansion if demand warrants it, The Australian daily reported in March.