Slovak battery manufacturer InoBat said it signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Serbia’s finance ministry and city authorities of Cuprija, in the central part of the country, to build an electric vehicle battery manufacturing and recycling facility.

According to SeeNews.com, the plant would assemble energy storage systems and electric vehicle batteries and house recycling facilities.

The report said the project was supported by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as the Serbian government would provide incentives worth EUR419m (US$442.4m).

SeeNews quoted CEO Marian Bocek as saying one reason why InoBat chose Cuprija was potential for co-developing its own distributed power smart grid and electricity from renewable sources for its own consumption.

Last February, InoBat and Hefei Gotion High-Tech Power Energy, a manufacturer of batteries and energy storage products in China, signed a memorandum of understanding to “explore joint venture opportunities in revolutionising EV battery and energy storage technologies”. That was likely to include a JV gigafactory with EV cell and pack production capacity of 40GWh, with CEE (central and eastern Europe) being one region under consideration, and co-development off ESS (storage system) battery production at existing InoBat premises in Slovakia, technology and commercial partnership in facility operations and investigation of recycling concepts for production scrap and end of life batteries.

Last November, InoBat said it would begin construction of a 32GWh electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility in Serbia in 2025.

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By GlobalData

That country has one of the world’s biggest deposits of lithium, a critical material for battery production. Its Jadar mine, in the west of the country, would be capable of delivering 55,000 tonnes of battery grade lithium carbonate per year.

British-Australian multinational company Rio Tinto planned to complete the construction of an underground mine at the Jadar lithium borate project site in 2026 which would help make the company a top 10 lithium producer.

In May 2021, Rio Tinto signed a memorandum of understanding with InoBat, outlining an intention to establish a “cradle-to-cradle” electric vehicle battery value chain in Serbia and, in November that it year, it said it planned to support the construction of an InoBat gigafactory in Serbia.

However, in January 2022 the Serbian government revoked Rio Tinto’s licences for Jadar lithium mine project amid a wave of protests by environmentalists across the country.

InoBat established a Serbian subsidiary, InoBat Auto Beograd, in July 2021, SeeNews said.