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Swiss-based ARCORE finds rich lithium deposit in Bosnia

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SARAJEVO, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Swiss miner ARCORE said on Friday its exploration in eastern Bosnia had found mineral deposit rich in lithium carbonate, magnesium and other minerals that are in demand in Europe.

The company said it has a strategic partnership with Canadian-German company Rock Tech Lithium to secure a reliable and long-term supply of lithium products from the Lopare mine to Rock Tech Lithium┬┤s European converter operations.

"ARCORE is confident that it will be able to mine the raw materials in an environmentally and socially responsible manner from the end of 2026," it said in a statement.

"The Lopare project has the potential to become one of the largest mines of its kind in Europe," it added.

The company said that after working with local and international authorities and mining and sustainability experts, it had completed the exploration that lasted since acquiring the licence in 2018.

It plans now to apply for a concession to mine the deposit, foreseeing investment of several hundred million euros over the next few years, it said.

The deposit, located about 140 km north of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, in the country┬┤s autonomous Serb Republic, was scientifically estimated and confirmed by expert reports in 2022, and also by the regional mining and energy ministry this year, the company said.

It said that several European raw materials institutes and the European Lithium Institute (eLi) supported the project, as well as the German Mineral Resources Agency (DERA).

ARCORE said that international estimates and technological tests showed the total mineral resource base of the Lopare project at 1.5 million metric tons of lithium carbonate equivalent, 14 million tonnes of boric acid, 35 million tons of potash and 94 million tons of magnesium sulphate.

It said that its partnership with Rock Tech Lithium will be an important building block in the development of a regional and domestic value chain for electric vehicle batteries in Europe.

It also said that it will use the latest technology and the highest safety standards to minimize the environmental impact on air, soil and water.

People living in the region of Lopare deposit are suspicious of the project after protests just across the border in Serbia succeeded in 2022 on environmental grounds to revoke the licence granted to Rio Tinto for the Jadar lithium project.

(Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by David Evans)


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