India is preparing to auction 20 blocks of critical minerals, including lithium and graphite, this month, as part of efforts towards greater resource self-sufficiency.
Mines secretary V.L. Kantha Rao disclosed the government’s plan, while highlighting the importance of leveraging indigenous technology for the exploration and processing of the vital minerals.
Rao made the announcement at the inauguration of the “Connecting Beyond Mining” pavilion at the annual India International Trade Fair-2023 that began on Tuesday.
Pralhad Joshi, minister of coal and mines, said in a virtual address: “Minerals serve as raw material for many industries and are crucial and vital to energy transition to a low carbon-emission economy, and renewable energy technologies that will be required to meet the ‘Net Zero’ commitment.
The move is a part of India’s broader goal to secure minerals such as lithium, cobalt, and titanium, which are crucial for advanced technology sectors, including electronics, telecom, transport, and defense. It follows substantial reforms aimed at enhancing private sector involvement in mineral exploration.
In recent years, India has introduced reforms to open the mining sector to private investments, especially in exploration. Several accredited private exploration firms have already been engaged to expedite exploration activities.
Last month, the government approved royalty rates of 3% for lithium and niobium and 1% for rare earth elements (REEs).
To raise awareness about reforms in the mining and minerals sector, the ministry is hosting a pavilion at the annual trade fair that is on at Pragati Maidan in Delhi till 27 November.
This February, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) reported the discovery of 5.9 million tonnes of inferred lithium resources in the Salal-Haimana area of Jammu and Kashmir.