Rio Tinto Trying to Jumpstart Serbia Lithium Venture, Outgoing Chairman Says


By Rhiannon Hoyle

Rio Tinto PLC will seek to get plans for a new lithium mine in Serbia back on track following last month’s elections in the country, outgoing Chairman Simon Thompson told an Australian shareholder meeting on Thursday.

Serbia in January revoked Rio Tinto’s licenses for the Jadar lithium project following community protests over environmental concerns. Mr. Thompson said an inability to publish Rio Tinto’s environmental studies–which he said need to first be approved by the government under local rules–led to “a bit of a vacuum” and the spread of misinformation about the project leading into the April elections.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic was re-elected, although his Serbian Progressive Party fell short of a majority in the concurrent parliamentary election.

“We very much hope that we will be able to discuss all of the options with the government of Serbia now the elections are out of the way to see whether we can progress this project,” Mr Thompson told investors.

Write to Rhiannon Hoyle at

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