India to bid for critical minerals

This a part of the country’s strategic plan to secure ample domestic resources for essential raw materials vital to propel the green energy transition

November 15, 2023

The auction process will specifically involve minerals such as lithium and graphite

The reforms are pivotal for auctioning lithium blocks recently identified in Jammu Kashmir and Karnataka

Last month, India's cabinet approved royalty rates for three critical and strategic minerals—3% for lithium, 3% for Niobium, and 1%

India discovered its first lithium deposits in Jammu and Kashmir in February, with estimated reserves of 5.9 million tonnes

In the coming two weeks, India is set to initiate the bidding process for 20 crucial mineral blocks, encompassing minerals like lithium and graphite, as part of its strategic plan to secure ample domestic resources for essential raw materials vital to propel the green energy transition, according to government officials.

Mines Secretary V L Kantha Rao detailed that the auction process will specifically involve minerals such as lithium and graphite. The decision to auction these critical mineral blocks aligns with India’s amended mining rules from July, aimed at fostering the exploration of key minerals, including lithium, by permitting private miners to engage in the search for these materials. The reforms are pivotal for auctioning lithium blocks recently identified in Jammu Kashmir and Karnataka.

Last month, India’s cabinet approved royalty rates for three critical and strategic minerals—3% for lithium, 3% for Niobium, and 1% for Rare Earth Element (REE). State-run enterprises have actively scoured the globe for these valuable mineral resources, while major energy players like Coal India Ltd. and NTPC Ltd. strategically plan their entry into the mining sector to tap into these essential materials.

Furthermore, India’s commitment to securing critical mineral assets on an international scale is underscored by the establishment of Khanij Bidesh India Ltd., a joint venture involving three government-owned companies, with a primary focus on regions such as Australia and South America.

With a keen interest in ensuring a stable lithium supply, a critical raw material for electric vehicle batteries, India discovered its first lithium deposits in Jammu and Kashmir in February, with estimated reserves of 5.9 million tonnes. The rise in lithium-ion battery costs last year, the first in the electric vehicle era, has emphasised the importance of securing a stable and cost-effective supply chain for materials like lithium, nickel, and cobalt, which are integral to lithium-ion batteries as the world transitions away from traditional gasoline-fueled combustion engines. Elon Musk has voiced concerns about the surging costs of lithium and highlighted raw material expenses as significant challenges for Tesla Inc.

Source: Economic Times

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