By the end of this year and the beginning of next, according to the expectations of the mayor of Loznica, around 2,500 of his fellow citizens will find employment. The biggest boost to reviving this part of Serbia will be the opening of the lithium and boron mine, which has been awaited since 2004.
You are expecting the arrival of China’s Mint, while they are also interested in a greenfield investment in the hotel sector. How far have they progressed with plans?
– The investment of Chinese company Mint amounts to 100 million euros and has been declared an investment of national importance, as it will employ a minimum of 1,000 workers, including around 300 highly educated personnel.
The laying of the foundation stone is expected in the first half of April, with the completion of construction of the first production plant and the launch of production expected during the last quarter of this year. Given that Mint is also engaged in the hotel business, it will build a business hotel in parallel, thereby also contributing to the development of the tourist potential of our city and this entire region.
China’s Mint is ready to grant scholarships to 300 students from Serbia within the scope of the programme and fund implemented by this company
There is also mention of the arrival of Rio Tinto, with projected investments of a billion dollars, and American company Adient. Does Loznica have the infrastructure capacities to handle this?
– In addition to company Mint, American-Belgian company Adient has also arrived in Loznica, which also operates in the sector of the automotive industry and which has an investment valued at 20 million euros. They have already hired around 360 people within the scope of their brownfield investment in a training centre opened in Banja Koviljača, while over the next five years they will employ at least 1,500 workers. Preparatory works for the Industrial Zone started in March, while the construction of production facilities begins in April. The plan is for everything to be completed in the next seven or eight months, and for production to start at the plant by the end of the year. One of the most important investment projects since 2004 is linked to company Rio Tinto and research showing that 10 per cent of known world reserves of lithium and boron are located in this part of Serbia. The opening of mines and the construction of processing capacities represents a development opportunity for our city, for Western Serbia, and for the country as a whole. It is also important for us that the construction of a mine will accelerate the construction of the Loznica-Valjevo railroad.
How important for Western Serbia is the establishing of a rail transport link along the Loznica-Šabac-Belgrade route?
– Project documentation is being finalised for the construction of the Loznica-Šabac high-speed road link, i.e. the Šabac-Ruma-Novi Sad Highway, and we expect works to commence in the second half of this year. This roadway will connect our region, and Western Serbia as a whole, with Corridor H, and is crucial to our economic development. By investing funds in the reconstruction of the Loznica-Šabac railroad, or the Zvornik-Šabac section, the State has enabled the faster transporting of freight and the re-establishing of passenger transport after a break of 13 years.
A lot is also being invested in road infrastructure, with construction of the Šabac-Loznica Highway beginning this year. What else is planned?
– Loznica has been investing significant funds in road, utilities and energy infrastructure for years, while we also have the support of the Government of Serbia when it comes to investments in healthcare, culture and sport. The reconstruction of three departments of Loznica Hospital is ongoing, while preparations are underway to complete the gynaecological-surgical block, the construction of which was launched a long time ago. Interestingly, our city is one of six in Serbia where football stadiums that meet UEFA 4 standards will be built.