In a drive to increase the share of mining’s contribution to the country’s GDP from 1.9 to 3.5 per cent over the next few years, which is one of the strategic goals of the Republic of Serbia, the Ministry of Mining and Energy has launched a procedure to amend the Law on Mining and Geological Research
Among the goals of these amendments are attracting investors, increasing mining royalties and ensuring greater protection for human health and the environment.
NO MINING DEVELOPMENT WITHOUT SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS
Serbian Mining and Energy Minister Zorana Mihajlović discussed plans for the development of mining in Serbia and support for scientific research institutions in this sector with Mile Bugarin, director of the Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Bor.
“It is important for the future of mining in Serbia to take care of domestic scientific research institutions, which should also play an important role in developing the national plan for the climate and energy and new energy development strategies, as well as being engaged in all activities in the domain of mining, especially when it comes to environmental protection,” noted Minister Mihajlović.
Bugarin said that the Institute, which emerged within the scope of RTB Bor, has been operating independently since 2007 and today boasts modern laboratories, is strengthened in terms of personnel and generates its own revenues on the market, through its participation in projects and provision of services both in the country and abroad.
WE’LL TALK ABOUT A GREEN SERBIA IN THREE DECADES
The aim of the changes initiated in Serbia’s energy sector will be to secure sufficient quantities of good quality energy and increase the level of energy generated from renewable sources, in order for us to be able to green energy and a green Serbia by 2050. These changes are taking place through amendments to key laws, the reforming of large enterprises and the increasing of investments in the energy sector.
The line ministry has prepared drafts of four laws from the fields of energy and mining, while relevant by-laws are set to be completed in three to six months.
With these new laws in the pipeline, the competent authorities have noted that no decision and no investment in the fields of mining and energy can be made today without being linked to environmental protection.
BRITS PLAN TO OPEN MINE NEAR RAŠKA
British company Adriatic Metals is conducting extensive geological research in Serbia with the aim of investing and launching the construction of a new mine in Raška by 2024. Paul Cronin, general manager and director of Adriatic Metals, said that the company had recognised Serbia as a successful economy with a good legal framework and great potential in the field of mining.
“A great thing for Serbia is that some of the world’s largest companies from the field of mining are already present in the country, and I believe we can also implement this project successfully in Serbia. Our company is already present in this region, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where we have a strong focus on environmental protection and cooperation with the local community, and we will have the same approach in Serbia,” said Cronin.
MINING RESERVES IN SERBIA REACH 200 BILLION DOLLARS
The value of confirmed reserves of mineral raw materials in Serbia has reached almost 200 billion dollars, while the state is tasked with creating the conditions for mining to develop. The goal is for both the state and citizens to benefit from this, through a healthy environment, higher incomes, the creation of jobs and high-quality investments. It is essential for the development of mining to provide a legal framework and introduce e-mining, in order for the country to have simpler and more efficient procedures.
“No one should be privileged if they want to explore and subsequent exploit some ore, and that’s why we’ll propose the shortening of exploration rights, as opposed to having someone do that for eight or nine years, occupying a certain area,” said Serbian Mining and Energy Minister Zorana Mihajlović Ph.D.
VACCINATION ENCOURAGES RECOVERY OF METAL AND MINERALS MARKETS
Miners and manufacturers of metal can hope for the recovery of the market they operate on, as they are awaited by a more favourable pricing structure, with all prices of minerals and metals – with the exception of iron ore – expected to rise in 2021, according to predictions in the latest report of Fitch Solutions.
Although metal prices have recovered unexpectedly positively compared to the decline recorded a year ago as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, they are set to remain lower than expected. Contributing to the recovery of mineral and metal prices is the fact that global economic recovery has become more certain since vaccination programmes have been launched worldwide.
MAJOR EXPANSION OF MINING CURRENTLY UNDERWAY IN SERBIA
According to official data, about two per cent of Serbia’s GDP is generated by the mining sector. In terms of structure, about 90 per cent is accounted for by coal, oil, natural gas and copper, with the structure of the remaining 10 per cent consisting of the production of lead and zinc and non-metallic mineral raw materials, mainly stone aggregate, sand and gravel, and raw materials for the cement industry.
A major expansion of mining activities is underway in Serbia. The most common activities at present include the exploitation of copper, lead, zinc, silver and gold, which leads experts to note the importance of developing the supporting industry in parallel with the opening of mines. They also emphasise that notably more attention is being paid to environmental protection in the mining sector than was previously the case.
According to data from the Serbian Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s Association for Energy and Energy Mining, Serbia has 200 exploitation fields and approximately 125 exploration fields where major research is being conducted. The highest level of investment over the next three years is expected in the Čukaru Peki Mine and the Jadar project, as well as investments in the mines of Bor, which are now owned by the Chinese Zijin Mining Group.
GOLD TO REMAIN WORLD’S MOST SOUGHT-AFTER COMMODITY
Global demand for gold has grown continuously over the past decade, with the pandemic only helping to strengthen that historic growth in 2020, with similar predictions for 2021. According to a McKinsey & Company report on metals and mining, this clearly demonstrates that gold remains one of the most sought-after commodities in the world and one of the most profitable investments.
The pandemic and its devastating impact on the global economy have increased demand for gold, as the safest commodity. Also contributing to this increase are the low interest rates that have rendered stocks, government bonds and other securities less attractive than gold.