The Serbian mining and energy ministry has secured a commitment of $2.18bn (RSD236.08bn) in investment from China for the development of renewable energy projects, Reuters has reported.
A memorandum of understanding was signed by the Serbian ministry, China’s Shanghai Fengling Renewable and Serbia Zijin Copper, a subsidiary of Zijin Mining, on 26 January 2024.
The agreement is the largest investment in Serbia’s renewable energy sector to date and includes plans for a 1.5GW wind farm, a 500MW solar plant and a hydrogen production facility capable of producing 30,000 tonnes annually by 2028.
Shanghai Fengling Renewable will be the main investor in the projects.
The energy generated from these renewable sources is intended for use at the Zijin-owned copper mine and smelter near Bor, a town in eastern Serbia.
Serbia’s Minister of Mining and Energy, Dubravka Djedovic Handanovic, was quoted by Reuters as saying: “This project will enable Zijin to produce a significant part of [its] electricity needs in a sustainable way.
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“This investment will help us achieve energy security and independence goals and… reach carbon neutrality by 2050.”
Serbia is working to lessen its reliance on imported energy by expanding its renewable energy capabilities as part of its broader energy strategy.
Zijin Mining solidified its position in Serbia by becoming a strategic partner in the RTB Bor copper mine in 2018.
The company invested $1.26bn for a 63% stake and subsequently opened the Cukaru Peki underground copper and gold mine in 2021.
The Balkan country has been seeking foreign investment in its mineral resources to attract companies such as Zijin and Rio Tinto.
China’s investments in the country have reached billions, primarily through soft loans for infrastructure and energy projects as part of its Belt and Road Initiative.