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India’s Kabil eyes lithium deal with Australia this fiscal

Five projects of Lithium and Cobalt have been selected in Australia where project feasibility is being carried out, mines secretary says 

India’s Kabil eyes lithium deal with Australia this fiscal
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

India’s Khanij Bidesh India Ltd (Kabil) and the critical minerals office (CMO) of Australia may sign five business-to-business (B2B) memoranda of understanding (MoU) to extract lithium and cobalt minerals in Australia this fiscal, the Press Trust of India reported, citing mines secretary V.L. Kantha Rao. 

“Five projects of lithium and cobalt have been selected where project feasibility is being carried out,” Rao said while inaugurating the registered office of the joint venture of three state-run mining firms in New Delhi.

State-owned Kabil, established by National Aluminium Co. Ltd (Nalco), Hindustan Copper Ltd (HCL), and Mineral Exploration and Consultancy Ltd (MECL), is tasked with identifying, exploring, acquiring, and developing overseas critical and strategic mineral assets for India.

The three central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) come under the ministry of mines.

“Kabil is poised to play a crucial role in driving India’s growth and self-sufficiency in the realm of critical and strategic minerals aligning with the objectives of ‘Make in India’ and ‘Viksit Bharat,’ and India achieving the net zero emission goal,” Rao added.

In January, Kabil signed a $24 million lithium exploration agreement with Argentina’s state-owned Catamarca Minera Y Energetica (Camyen). 

Kabil was set up in 2019 to source strategic minerals such as cobalt and lithium from abroad.

An instrumental step in Kabil’s journey was the signing of an exploration and development agreement with Camyen on 15 January 2024. This agreement granted Kabil exclusive exploration rights for five lithium blocks in Argentina, marking a significant stride towards securing a stable supply of lithium, the ministry of mines said in a statement.

Lithium, a key component in the production of batteries, is considered essential for various industries, including electric vehicles.

Australia produces about 47% of the world’s lithium and, with around 3% of cobalt production, is also the world’s fourth largest producer.

Most of India’s lithium needs are met by imports from Chile, Russia, and China, while beryllium is mostly imported from Russia, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.


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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