By Robb M. Stewart

 

Rio Tinto PLC said Thursday it was reviewing the legal basis and implications of a decision by Serbia's government to revoke licenses for the mining company's lithium project.

"Rio Tinto is extremely concerned by the statement from the prime minister, Ana Brnabic, about cancelling the spatial plan and revoking licences related to the Jadar project," a company spokesman said.

The spokesman said that the mining company, throughout its work on Jadar, has operated in compliance with the Serbia's laws.

The government's decision is a further blow for Rio Tinto, which earlier this week said that due to license delays, first saleable production from the Jadar lithium-borate project in Serbia is now expected no earlier than 2027, a year later than previously planned.

Ms. Brnabic told reporters the government's decision to revoke Rio Tinto's licenses came after requests from various environmental organizations to halt the project, Reuters reported earlier Thursday.

Last July, Rio Tinto said it was committing $2.4 billion to the Jadar project, which it expected would position it as the largest source of lithium supply in Europe for at least the next 15 years.

 

Write to Robb M. Stewart at robb.stewart@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 20, 2022 15:07 ET (20:07 GMT)

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