In 2000 Serbia and Montenegro was beginning to rebuild infrastructure, electric power stations, steel mills, and other industrial plants damaged in the Kosovo conflict. The country also confronted continuing economic sanctions and the loss of control of Kosovo, with its ores and production facilities for nickel, lead, zinc, coal, lignite, ferronickel, and tin-plate. Serbia and Montenegro's GDP grew by 7% in 2000, its industrial production rose by 12%, and its output of iron and steel, industrial (nonmetallic) minerals, and nonferrous metals recorded increases of 152%, 38%, and 7%, respectively. The country had significant capacities to produce refined aluminum, lead, silver, and zinc. In 2002, raw materials were a leading export commodity, and mining, particularly of coal, bauxite, nonferrous ore, iron ore, and limestone, ranked behind machine building and metallurgy as the country's leading industries. Mining in Serbia dates back to the Middle Ages, when silver, gold, and lead were extracted. Yugoslavia's bauxite mining, alumina-refining, and aluminum-smelting industries were located primarily in Montenegro, which was accorded favorable treatment by the European Commission, and thus registered the only substantial production gains in nonferrous metals as compared with prewar 1998 levels.
Mine output of metals in 2000 was: gross lead ore, 602,000 tons, down from 1.25 million tons in 1998; gross bauxite, 630,000 tons, up from 226,000 in 1998; agglomerate iron ore and concentrate, 2,000 tons, down from 50,000 in 1996; and gross copper ore, 12.9 million tons, down from 20.5 million tons in 1997. Production of silver was 7,645 kg in 2000, down from 68,805 in 1996, and for refined gold, 1,300 kg, down from 4,000 in 1997. The country also produced alumina, magnesium, palladium, platinum, and selenium. Among the industrial minerals produced were asbestos, bentonite, ceramic clay, fire clay, feldspar, pumice, lime, magnesite, mica, kaolin, gypsum, quartz sand, salt, nitrogen, caustic soda, sodium sulfate, sand and gravel, and stone.