Rio Tinto Ramps Up Jadar Valley Green Lithium Efforts

Sep 20, 2021 | ADVANCED ENERGY

Rio Tinto Approves Controversial Serbian Green Energy Lithium Project

Sinead Kaufman has taken charge as the head of Rio Tinto Minerals. She is all set to flip the switch to Green Energy for Lithium in Jadar, Serbia but not everybody is happy. This comes on top of an announcement by American Pacific Borates (ABR) last week to explore Lithium byproducts in their Fort Cady Mine in the USA, driven by ongoing demand for advanced energy solutions globally.

Lithium Jadar Valley

Green energy

Green energy is a form of renewable energy that has been harnessed for use in the generation of electricity. It includes technologies such as solar power, wind power, hydroelectricity, and geothermal power. These are all forms of clean energy that do not produce any pollution when they are used to generate electricity. 

Green Energy can be an important part of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. And therefore reduce emissions into the atmosphere that contribute to global warming. The investment opportunities associated with Green Energy have grown rapidly over recent years due to increased public awareness about climate change, environmental degradation, and depletion of non-renewable resources. 

The energy sector is constantly changing and evolving, but what does the future of green energy look like? With so many different types of renewable energies available today, it can be hard to know where to start. 

Lithium

One type that you may not have even heard about yet is lithium-powered green energy. Lithium-ion batteries are a form of rechargeable battery in which lithium ions move from anode to cathode during discharge and back when charging. These types of batteries are the most popular type for use in consumer electronics because they’re lightweight and safe with low self-discharge rates.

They also happen to be one of the best sources for storing electricity – all without any harmful emissions. Recently there has been a push towards using these batteries as power sources for electric vehicles.

Boron - Batterties

Lithium-based batteries are perfect for solar panels, wind turbines, and other forms of Green Energy because they can act as a backup power source when the sun isn’t shining or the wind is still.

Rio Tinto Minerals Boss flips the switch

Rio Tinto Minerals Boss Sinead Kaufman believes that lithium will become an integral part of our energy mix in the coming years. And she has already made Rio Tinto Minerals a part of that future. She is putting in place Green Energy to power Rio Tinto Minerals’ Lithium business nationally and beyond. 

Sinead Kaufman takes up the responsibilities to improve Rio Tinto Minerals’ performance by taking it to another level. She handles a diverse range of commodities belonging to the mining giant. Her team is working at ground level pushing $3.2 billion into the metal Lithium. Currently, Lithium is synonymous with green energy transition as well as modern technology.

The project will be the first step into the electric battery raw material world if it becomes a success. Additionally, it is one of the biggest strategic pivots that is a part of Rio Tinto’s overall history.

The challenges

However, Sinead Kaufman has a bunch of hurdles to jump before getting there. There are many environmental concerns surrounding the fact of building a new mine. Especially, when you consider that the region is agricultural and has strong local opposition. Additionally, it is also important to mobilize the conservation groups and the protestors.

Kaufman reportedly tells The Age and the Herald, “A lot of the work we’re doing now is studying what that impact will be and mitigating what the impact could be as well.”

She met with the Prime Minister of Serbia, Ana Brnabić in the capital Belgrade to personally update her about the project and the environmental assessment that was going on.

Kaufman also says, “Meeting with people, working with the government.”

“That’s where the majority of the focus is.”

Serbia’s Jader Valley

There was a team of geologists working for Rio Tinto in the creeks of Serbia’s Jader Valley and drilled two holes to locate minerals. They found borates in the first hole which are raw materials used widely in construction materials, fertilizers, and more.

Planet Boron

Source: https://images.app.goo.gl/2YC4vHMsLMmApESs5

However, in the second hole, they stuck something completely surprising, borates and lithium. The unexpected part is that both were present in a single mineral. At the time, the miners had no idea that lithium will become the most sought-after resource in the future.

Lithium is extracted from hard-rock mineral deposits and brine beneath salt flats. It is generally used to pack ceramics, glass, and lubricants. But in modern technology, it is an important component for batteries in mobile phones, laptops, and particularly in electric vehicles.

Lithium and Electric Vehicles

Experts believe that electric vehicles will have a boost and account for 40% of vehicles by the year 2031. Therefore, it will push the lithium demand at least by 5 times.

Kaufman believes, “And even with that, we see that EV demand will require another 40 Jadars to be built.” 

“We see a strong demand for lithium in batteries in particular.”

The mining giant, Rio Tinto has allocated $US450 million for feasibility studies. Currently, they also confirmed another $US2.4 billion to build the impending mine. Although, they are yet to achieve regulatory approvals and licenses. The mining company is expecting a target start date in the early months of 2022.

The project at Jader is the latest commitment of Rio Tinto to a better and stronger environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance.  It is essential particularly after the scandal at a Western Australian iron ore mine that spoiled the company’s reputation.

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