Energy Minister on lithium reserves: Gift from God, we’re sitting on billions

NEWS 21.02.202409:55
Tanjug/MRE/Emilija Jovanović

Serbian Mining and Energy Minister described Serbia’s lithium reserves in the Jadar valley as a “gift from God,” adding that the country is “sitting on billions.”

Minister Dubravka Djedovic Handanovic said Serbia should weigh all the risks and the benefits of the lithium project “and then make responsible decisions,” but noted that this is a task for the future government.

Asked if lithium mining “takes away some other gifts from God that the country has – forests, agricultural land, water, air,” the Minister told the Serbian state TV (RTS) that Serbia is a country rich in mineral resources and ores, such as lithium, borate, nickel, gold, silver, coal, which are also strategic resources.

“We need to exploit these resources in the most sustainable way possible,” said Djedovic Handanovic.

Asked what is happening with the stopped Jadar project, and what other changes are expected regarding energy, the Minister said that exploitation of natural resources “brings, above all, economic benefits,” increases the GDP, salaries, pensions and fills the budget.

“This also goes for the energy sector, which we need to develop and advance. This means that we simply have to keep sight of the advantages and of ways of dealing with the risks that these mining projects entail,” said the Minister.

She insisted that the government is acting responsibly and making decisions “primarily on the basis of the documentation” that has been developed and inspected by the public, adding that investors “need to prove and show what technologies they use, whether they are state-of-the-art.”

“We have the right to demand the highest mining standards, which increase every year, primarily in developed countries,” said Djedovic Handanovic, adding that, regarding lithium mining, responsible decisions need to be taken.