A Mine, Though Not a Lithium One, Solar Panels and Batteries – 2023 Retrospective, Investments in INDUSTRY

Source: eKapija Wednesday, 17.01.2024. 08:31
(Photo: eKapija / Aleksandra Kekić)
Unlike the previous two years, when the mining of lithium and Rio Tinto were the most read stories on our portal on the list of investments in industry, the year 2023 was marked by a lack of activities when it comes to this controversial topic.

Another mine, Cukaru Peki, drew attention, where the exploitation of the lower site is expected to begin this year, and it will last for four decades. The vice-champion shone some light on us, as we learned toward the end of the year that Serbia had gotten its first factory for the production of solar photovoltaic panels.

The year was also marked by the announcement of the construction of a range of factories, from a technology park for the assembling of components for machines for the production of batteries and fuel cells in Stara Pazova, where a facility for the production of cooling devices is also to be built, an electric vehicle battery plant in Cuprija, a factory for the production of industrial injection machines and cutting and casting machines in Ruma, a textile factory in Krusevac, to a bus factory in Novi Sad.

Here is the list of investments in industry which drew the most interest from eKapija’s readers in 2023.

1. Cukaru Peki Mine Lower Zone

This year, we are looking at the beginning of the exploitation of the lower zone at the Cukaru Peki mine. The total production life cycle of the mine will be 41 years, and at the same time, the exploitation of the upper zone will be completed in the next ten years.

The request for deciding on the necessity of the environmental impact assessment of the project of the exploitation of mineral deposits of copper and gold in the lower zone of the Cukaru Peki mine that Serbia Zijin Mining doo Bor filed to the competent ministry says that the exploitation of the lower site will be done underground.

(Photo: eKapija / Aleksandra Kekić)
At the beginning of September, the Memorandum of Understanding was signed for this investment by Zijin and the Ministry of Mining of Serbia.

With the Memorandum on the Development of the Lower Zone of the Cukaru Peki Mine, Zijin Mining confirmed its intention to invest an additional USD 3.8 billion in the Republic of Serbia, the ministry announced at the time.

And what it’s like to work in a mine we learned last summer when we descended into the pit of the Cukaru Peki mine and talked to the employees.

2. Domi Eko Solar Factory of Solar Panels Velika Plana

In December last year, Serbia got the first factory of solar photovoltaic panels. Domi Eko Solar started producing solar panels for the production of electrical energy in its plant near Velika Plana in central Serbia.

The factory’s capacity is 100 MW per year and the plan is to reach it by the middle of next year, and the investment is estimated at EUR 3 million for production equipment alone, according to Dragan Rajovic, director and owner of Domi Eko Solar.

(Photo: Pixabay.com/Samuel Faber)
The production capacity could be easily increased from 100 MW to 200 MW or 300 MW. The plan is to sell the panels in the wholesale market in Serbia and the European Union, but also to open retail stores in Serbia.

3. Muehlbauer Automation Technology Park Stara Pazova

At the end of last year, we learned that, in the north part of the East Business Zone in Stara Pazova, the company Muehlbauer Automation doo Stara Pazova, part of Muehlbauer Group, planned to build a technology park for the assembling of parts for machines for the production of batteries and fuel cells.

The investment of Muehlbauer Group in Serbia arrives a year after the announcement of the Ministry of Economy about new investments in the sectors of the automotive industry and the production of electrical equipment, worth EUR 180 million.

As said at the time, this pertains to five multi-annual investment projects with renowned companies and world-famous producers of parts and equipment, which will bring high technology and production processes and employ over 420 people, and one of those investors is Muehlbauer Automation.

It was also announced at the time that, by the end of 2025, Muehlbauer Automation planned to invest EUR 29.5 million in the construction of a new factory for the production of machines for the production of batteries and fuel cells in Stara Pazova and employ 150 new workers.

4. InoBat Electric Vehicle Battery Plant Cuprija

The Slovak company InoBat announced that it had signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Serbia and the Municipality of Cuprija about the construction of a giga factory for the production and recycling of electric vehicle batteries.

The company also said that Project Lion had achieved an indicative Incentives Package of c. EUR 419 million from the Serbian Government. As the company announced, they selected Cuprija as InoBat’s second CEE site because of its welcoming and eager local community and hands-on and proactive municipality government.

(Photo: Mike Flippo/shutterstock.com)
The president of the Municipal Assembly of Cuprija and a member of the national parliament, Ninoslav Eric, stated that the investment of InoBat in Cuprija should be worth more than EUR 2 billion. As he pointed out, in addition to battery producers, the municipality also wants to have producers of electric cars.

5. Hessen Refrigeration Facility for Production of Cooling Devices Stara Pazova

Stara Pazova is to get another factory, as Hessen Refrigeration plans to build a new business-production facility. According to the urban project, the plan is to build a workshop for the production of cooling devices with an administrative part and a warehouse space.

The new facility will encompass around 1,500 m2 of warehouse space, where raw materials and production parts are planned to be stored, as well as a production facility of around 1,000 m2, where the process of shaping and assembling the cooling equipment should take place.
(Photo: Mark Yuill/shutterstock.com)

6. Haitian Machinery Factory of Industrial Injection Machines and Cutting and Casting Machines Ruma

The Chinese Haitian is arriving to Ruma – is the news which arrived at the beginning of last year, when it was announced that the company Haitian International planned to build a factory complex for the production of industrial injection machines and cutting and casting machines in Ruma.

The complex is planned in the Industrial Zone Ruma Interchange, on a parcel of around 250,000 m2, and the plan is to produce a total of 250 machines a year. The foundation stone was laid down on April 20, and the production is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2025, the company announced.

This Chinese group, the biggest world producer of machines for injection under pressure, had previously announced that it would invest USD 100 million in the factory and that it would bring four industries to Ruma – the production of machines for injection, CNC machines, machines for casting under pressure and automation.

The investment has been estimated as the biggest one in Ruma in the past three decades.

7. Srpska Fabrika Stakla Paracin – New Investments

The construction of a new production furnace with a capacity of 270 tons a day at Srpska Fabrika Stakla in Paracin, which has been taken over by the international glass industry Vaider Group, is announced for spring this year. As announced, this is an investment worth EUR 50 million, through which SFS will additionally boost its position in the market of packaging glass for the food and beverage industry.

(Photo: bibiphoto/shutterstock)
The company points out that the preparations for the next phase are in progress as well – the construction of a new, greenfield factory with four production lines, which should be completed at the end of 2025, and in 2026, it is supposed to increase its production capacities to about 500 tons of high-quality packaging glass a day.

The entire investment is estimated at around EUR 100 million.

8. Luss Textile Factory Krusevac

The biggest local textile company Luss Textile from Raska was going to build and open the most modern factory in this part of Europe in the territory of the city of Krusevac in 2023, and over 500 workers would be employed, it was announced at the beginning of the year. The foundation stone for the construction of the new textile factory was laid down on June 28 in the presence of state officials.

As announced by the Chamber of Commerce of Serbia, the new factory, together with the existing factories in Raska and Vlasotince, will contribute to Luss Textile becoming the biggest local and regional textile producer with over 1,000 employees and the production of around a million clothing items a year.

9. Feniksbus Bus Factory Klisa Novi Sad

The company Feniksbus will build a bus factory in Novi Sad. In October, the City Administration for Environmental Protection of Novi Sad adopted the decision saying that the preparation of the environmental impact assessment study for the project of the construction of the bus production factory was necessary. The project had previously obtained location requirements from the City Administration for Urban Planning and Construction of the City of Novi Sad.

The future factory will have a production hall with an administrative part and a warehouse of flammable matters, and it will be located in the Klisa neighborhood.
(Photo: Aleph Studio/shutterstock.com)

10. Etampa Facility for Machine Processing of Metal Krusevac

In February, a factory of the Swiss company Etampa officially opened in Krusevac. The company comes from the sector of machine processing of metal. The factory employs around 25 workers, and the production capacity is around 280 million parts a year. The majority of Etampa’s clients come from the fields of automotive industry (Ferrari, Porsche, Bugatti), electronics/electrical engineering, construction and medical/safety technology.

We presented the 10 investments which drew the most attention from our readers when it comes to industry. Make sure to take a look at the full list HERE.

We also invite you to see which investments marked the year 2023 in the field of TRANSPORTATION.

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