The Vancouver-based company Erin Ventures, which has discovered boron reserves in the Piskanje area, not far from the coal mine near Baljevac on the Ibar, has signed an agreement on the strategic partnership with the London-based company InvestCo. It is assumed that the gross value of the ore exceeds EUR 2 billion, which would make the site the third biggest site in the world.
Under the agreement, InvestCo should invest slightly over USD 20 million in the continuation of the explorations near Baljevac on the Ibar. After that, if the mine opens, the British company, which specializes in these kinds of investments, will be the majority owner.
After signing an agreement on the strategic partnership, the Ministry of Mining extended Erin's exploration permit until 2020, with an option to extend the license in the next two years as well. According to the preliminary feasibility study, the mine might be operational for 21 years. In that period, around 12 million tons of boron could be produced there.
This small Canadian company entered the project after the British-Australian conglomerate Rio Tinto, which employs 200,000 workers and has mines on five continents, gave up on the concession in this area. It is this mining corporation, together with the Turkish state company Eti Maden, that controls 80% of the global production of boron.
The majority of boron reserves, as much as 75%, is located in Turkey. However, the discovery of Erin Ventures might place Serbia among the countries with the biggest reserves of this ore. The Piskanje site is even estimated to be of much higher quality than those discovered in the world so far. Further explorations should show whether the boron reserves in the location are far greater than those found so far.
The boron ore is primarily used in the production of glass, ceramics and detergents and in agriculture. Furthermore, the element is used more and more in the development of new nuclear processes and, thanks to its hardness and resilience, in the military industry as well, for the production of armored vehicles and bulletproof vests. Boron-based products are also used in the development of nanotechnology and in the car industry.
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