InoBat and Rio Tinto to implement battery recycling in Serbia

Slovak battery company InoBat wants to build a value chain for the production and recycling of electric car batteries in Serbia with the Rio Tinto mining group. However, an important point remains open: the decision to invest in the mine in Serbia.

The partnership must cover the entire lifecycle from raw materials to recycling lithium, according to Rio Tinto. Basically, Rio Tinto’s Jadar project in Serbia should be used. According to the mining company, this is one of the largest lithium projects currently in development “on a virgin site” – that is, in largely untouched nature. It should be possible to produce up to 55,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium carbonate there. Jadar is located southwest of Belgrade in the border region of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

InoBat does not only want to increase its production with the Gigafactory in Slovakia and secure it with regional primary products. “The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Rio Tinto represents an important step in achieving InoBat’s goal of using a European value chain and supporting the European offer of technological independence,” says Marian Bocek, CEO of InoBat.

The planned collaboration will also – according to Bocek, in line with the company’s “cradle to cradle” approach – establish a circular economy for batteries. However, details on recycling, capacities and processes used are not mentioned in the declaration.

“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, general manager of Borat and Lithium business at Rio Tinto .

There is a simple reason why this is only a declaration of intent so far: Rio Tinto has not yet decided to build the proposed plant. Last year, the company invested around $ 200 million in the final phase of the project study. This is expected to be completed in 2021.

An investment decision will then be made on this basis. If the plant is then also approved, construction of the mine would take up to four years, according to Rio Tinto. “The scale and high-grade nature of the Jadar deposit offers a mine the potential to deliver lithium products into the electric vehicle value chain for decades,” the company wrote.

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