New Delhi: In a significant move towards securing critical minerals vital for economic development and national security, the Indian government is set to invite bids for 20 mineral blocks, including sought-after resources like lithium and graphite. Mines Secretary V L Kantha Rao announced this development on November 14, highlighting the nation's commitment to energy transition and achieving net-zero emissions by 2070.
Last month, the Centre approved royalty rates of three percent for both lithium and niobium, and one percent for Rare Earth Elements (REEs). The auction of these critical mineral blocks aims to bolster India's position in the global shift towards sustainable energy and electric vehicles.
Lithium, a crucial component in electric vehicle batteries, has gained prominence as India explores avenues to secure its supply. Earlier this year, the country discovered its first lithium deposits in Jammu and Kashmir, estimated at 5.9 million tonnes. The auction is expected to facilitate the strategic acquisition and development of these essential resources.
Khanij Bidesh India Ltd (KABIL), formed in August 2019, will play a key role in this initiative. KABIL focuses on identifying, acquiring, developing, and processing strategic minerals overseas for use in India. The move aligns with India's broader strategy of forming international partnerships to secure key minerals, with a particular focus on resource-rich countries like Australia, Argentina, and Chile.
The global surge in demand for lithium, nickel, cobalt, and other metals essential for lithium-ion batteries underscores the importance of these strategic minerals. As the world transitions away from traditional combustion engines, securing a stable supply chain for these minerals becomes paramount for India's sustainable development goals.
The auction not only positions India as a key player in the global mineral market but also supports the nation's commitment to clean energy and a greener future.