The British-Australian mining group Rio Tinto has detected a maiden Ore Reserve and updated Mineral Resource at the 100% owned Jadar lithium-borates project in western Serbia, the company says in a press release.
The Ore Reserve is 16.6 Mt at 1.81% Li2O and 13.4% B2O3, Rio Tinto disclosed to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), according to the press release.
The Mineral Resource comprises 55.2 Mt of Indicated Resource at 1.68% Li2O and 17.9% B2O3 with an additional 84.1 Mt of Inferred Resource at 1.84% Li2O and 12.6% B2O3, Rio Tinto said.
The Mineral Resource underlying the maiden Ore Reserve has been updated to incorporate additional drilling which resulted in an updated geological model. Mineral Resources are reported exclusive of Ore Reserves, the company notes.
At the end of July 2020, the project moved into feasibility study, with an investment of almost USD 200 million on a scope that includes detailed engineering, land acquisition, workforce and supply preparation for construction, permitting and the early infrastructure development. The feasibility study is expected to be complete at the end of 2021 and, if approved, construction could take up to 4 years, Rio Tinto says.
Pre-feasibility studies have shown that the Jadar project has the potential to produce both battery grade lithium carbonate and boric acid and provide lithium products into the EV value chain for decades, the press release says.
The Jadar site, discovered by Rio Tinto’s geologists in 2004, near the town of Loznica in western Serbia, would be capable of producing approximately 55 thousand tons of battery grade lithium carbonate, as well as 160 thousand tons of boric acid (B2O3 units) and 255 thousand tons of sodium sulfate as by-products per annum, the company says.
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