May 26, 2021

Rio Tinto partners with InoBat to explore innovative lithium battery initiative

Rio Tinto and InoBat  have just signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aiming at accelerating the establishment of a local battery value chain in Serbia. The partnership will cover the full commodity life-cycle from mining to recycling of lithium.

According to the press release issued yesterday, Rio Tinto’s Jadar project in Serbia has the potential to produce approximately 55 thousand tonnes of battery grade lithium carbonate in Europe, one of the world’s largest growing electric vehicles markets. The European-based battery manufacturer InoBat, that has a pilot plant under developmement in Slovakia, intends to scale up its future production by building gigafactories in the EMEA region. The collaboration between Jadar and InoBat should therefore encourage the development of a complete European lithium and electric vehicle battery value chain that will harness and enhance local skills, environmental, social and governance standards and cross-border interactions for the benefit of Serbia and other European economies that wish to collaborate.

“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, MD of Rio Tinto’s borates and lithium businesses in the press release. “It is a visionary initiative and one that is aligned with Rio Tinto’s commitment to partnerships that provide solutions to combat climate change.”

Marian Bocek, CEO of InoBat Auto adds that “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. Our unique “cradle to cradle” approach covers the whole life-cycle of batteries from mining to recycling, in order to underpin circular economy efforts and the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.”

About the Jadar Project

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. If approved, construction of a mine to the highest environmental standards would take up to four years and would be a significant investment for Serbia with direct and indirect economic benefits to the Serbian economy. The study of feasibility is currently in its final stage and is expected to be finalised this year.

For more information, refer to Rio Tinto’s press release.

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