Slobodanka Lazarev, CEO, Jantar Grupa

Expecting New Investments

Jantar Grupa has been engaged in exploration and consulting in the fields of geology, mining and environmental protection for a full 20 years. The group has expanded its activities beyond the borders of Serbia, both in the region (North Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Romania) and the Far East (Laos, Vietnam, North Korea).

Current legislation is quite good, but space exists to eliminate problems indicated in practice. Work is currently underway on amendments to the Law on Mining and Geological Surveys, and it remains to be seen what kinds of changes this will bring us, says Jantar Grupa director and CEO Slobodanka Lazarev.

How much has your job and area of work changed over the course of the previous two decades?

The period after the 5th October changes of the year 2000, when the Jantar Grupa began dealing with this business, was a time filled with unknowns. We then organised a major round-table event called “Geology, how to proceed” and brought together leading experts from the economy and the university faculty. The turning point in geological research in Serbia came in 2001, when the state began also granting approvals for mineral exploration to companies established with foreign capital. Along with foreign companies came greater investments of resources in exploration, as well as the transfer of knowledge and research procedures.

Jantar Grupa was among the first domestic companies to establish cooperation with the world’s leading companies conducting geological surveys in Serbia.

The geologists of Jantar Grupa – as members of the European Federation of Geologists and the American Institute of Professional Geologists – are recognised internationally as professional geologists, which enables us to also produce reports for foreign markets (stock exchanges, banks etc.)

Jantar Grupa was among the first domestic companies to establish cooperation with the world’s leading companies conducting geological surveys in Serbia

How would you assess the current legal possibilities in Serbia for exploring and exploiting mineral resources, as well as for launching and developing projects?

Many changes have occurred since Jantar Grupa first entered the sphere of geological research, with the law governing the field of geological research alone having changed several times. It is crucial that we harmonise legislation with European laws and modern world practice (PERC, YORC), particularly in terms of the classification and categorisation of resources and reserves.

Geology and mining imply a long period of time elapsing from initial exploration to the opening of a deposit. It is therefore necessary for the basic postulates of the legal regulations – as the direct link between exploration and exploitation, mining royalties – to be stable.

The mining sector’s contribution to the economic development of Serbia and the region has been increasing year on year. Are you expecting the arrival of some new major foreign companies?

Serbia has done plenty on the promoting of the mining sector in recent years. Over the last few years, representatives of the Ministry have had a notable presence at the annual convention of the PDAC, the largest gathering covering investments in geology and mining, which is held in Toronto. Together with the engagement of domestic consultants and companies, this has led to Serbia being recognised as a regional leader when it comes to interest in investing in the mining sector. Unfortunately, the current situation (COVID pandemic) has slowed the arrival of new investors to an extent, but it is encouraging that contacts are being maintained and great interest still exists. I hope the new amendments to the law and the end of the pandemic will contribute to the arrival of new investors in Serbia.

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