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Rio Tinto–backed firm InoBat selects location for battery gigafactory in Serbia



Slovakian startup InoBat has selected a location for its gigafactory for manufacturing and recycling batteries. The move follows earlier preliminary agreements signed with the Government of Serbia.

InoBat said it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Serbia’s Ministry of Finance and the Municipality of Ćuprija, a town in the central part of the country, on building its second gigafactory.

“We are pleased to announce Ćuprija as the location for our Serbia Giga Factory and recycling project code-named Lion, which has been under development for the past two years with the International Financing Corporation (IFC),” it added.

According to the firm, Lion will be its second gigafactory in Central and Eastern Europe. InoBat is developing the Voderady research and development pilot line and the mini-giga factory in Slovakia.

One of the InoBat shareholders is Rio Tinto

InoBat said the Government of Serbia is prepared to offer an incentives package of EUR 419 million for project Lion. The facility will assemble energy storage (ESS) solutions, electric vehicle (EV) batteries and recycle batteries, the company revealed and vowed to align the activities with its comC2C circular value chain development platform.

In November 2022, InoBat signed preliminary agreements with the Government of Serbia on the construction of a gigafactory.

One of the investors in InoBat is Rio Tinto, which has been developing a lithium mining and processing project in the country. Following mass protests throughout Serbia and other forms of public pressure, the government decided to halt it. However, there are indications that the project could be revived, so the deal with InoBat makes it even more likely.

InoBat will begin its cooperation with China-based Minth Group in Serbia

Marian Bocek, InoBat’s CEO, said it has selected Ćuprija because of its welcoming and eager local community and a hands-on and proactive municipal government.

“Another major plus point is the potential for co-developing our own distributed power smart grid and electricity from renewable sources for own consumption,” he added.

According to board member and CDO Tara Lindstedt, the Lion project has progressed well. She noted that earlier this year InoBat signed a memorandum of understanding with Minth Group on collaboration across the battery value chain in Europe, starting with Serbia.

Jimmy Wong: Minth Group has eight sites in the country

“Our decision to locate InoBat’s second CEE facility in Serbia was in part influenced by Minth’s long and positive experience there,” Lindstedt said.

Jimmy Wong, Managing Director for Europe at Minth Group, asserted that the company based in China has eight sites in the Balkan country.

“We are pleased to support InoBat’s investment in Serbia, delivering jobs in the new decarbonized circular economy,” Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabić said.

Maria Paulina Mogollon, InoBat Manager of Upstream and Advisory for Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services (MAS) in Europe and Latin America, expressed the belief that the Lion project would put Serbia on the map of European low-carbon and circular renewable energy storage solutions and electric vehicle battery value chains.

Source : Balkan Green Energy

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