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India signs first overseas lithium mining deal with Argentina

KABIL, a joint venture of three state-run mining firms, signs $24 mn deal to explore five lithium brine blocks in Catamarca province

India signs first overseas lithium mining deal with Argentina
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

A joint venture of state-run miners signed India’s first overseas lithium exploration and mining deal in Argentina this week, setting off New Delhi’s global hunt for the crucial mineral that constitutes the core element in electric vehicle battery technology.

Khanij Bidesh India Ltd (KABIL), a joint venture between National Aluminium Co. Ltd, Hindustan Copper Ltd and Mineral Exploration and Consultancy Ltd, signed the $24 million deal for five blocks with Argentina’s state-owned Catamarca Minera Y Energetica (Camyen).

“The deal will not only play a crucial role in driving the energy transition for sustainable future, but also ensure a resilient and diversified supply chain for critical and strategic minerals essential for various industries,” mines minister Pralhad Joshi said.

KABIL will explore and develop five lithium brine blocks spanning 15,703 ha in the Catamarca province of northwestern Argentina. KABIL was set up in 2019 to source strategic minerals such as cobalt and lithium from abroad.

“The deal will strengthen bilateral ties, and open doors to decades of innovation, growth, and technological advancements in mining,” Franco Senilliani, commercial head at the Argentinian embassy in New Delhi, said.

Senilliani said some private miners in both countries are exploring similar deals in future, but did not disclose further details.

Argentina, part of the resource-rich ‘Lithium Triangle’ which also includes Chile and Bolivia, is critical for India, a country largely dependent on lithium imports from Chile, Russia, and China.


Javaid Naikoo is a senior correspondent at Press Insider. A seasoned and analytical journalist, Javaid covers economy and policy from New Delhi. He has reported on politics, business and social issues in the past, and also has a keen interest in photojournalism. His compelling words and art have appeared across domestic and global publications. More

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