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India to invite bids for 20 critical minerals, including lithium, in 2 weeks

India plans to invite bids within two weeks for 20 crucial mineral blocks, encompassing minerals like lithium and graphite, aiming to bolster domestic resources for the green energy shift. State-run enterprises have been actively scouting the globe in search of these valuable mineral resources




India is set to start the bidding process for 20 critical mineral blocks, including lithium and graphite, within the next two weeks, according to a statement from a senior government official. This initiative aligns with the country’s strategy to secure ample domestic resources of vital raw materials essential for driving the green energy transition. The auction, overseen by Mines Secretary V L Kantha Rao, follows mining rule changes implemented in July, allowing private miners to explore critical minerals like lithium. These reforms are pivotal for auctioning newly identified lithium blocks in Jammu and Kashmir and Karnataka.


India’s cabinet recently approved royalty rates for three crucial minerals—lithium, Niobium, and REE—at 3 per cent, 3 per cent, and one percent, respectively. State-run enterprises and major energy players like Coal India and NTPC  are actively pursuing global opportunities to acquire these vital mineral resources. The creation of Khanij Bidesh India , a joint venture involving three government-owned entities, underscores India’s commitment to securing critical mineral assets internationally, focusing on regions such as Australia and South America.


India’s quest for lithium, a key component in electric vehicle batteries, gained traction when it discovered its first lithium deposits in Jammu and Kashmir in February, boasting estimated reserves of 5.9 million tonnes. As the demand for lithium, nickel, cobalt, and other metals essential for lithium-ion batteries skyrockets amid the global shift away from gasoline-fueled combustion engines, the move to auction mineral blocks plays a vital role in bolstering India’s position in the evolving green energy landscape. Last year, lithium-ion battery costs experienced an increase for the first time in the electric vehicle era, reflecting the heightened demand for these critical raw materials, as noted by BloombergNEF. Elon Musk highlighted the challenges posed by the “insane” rally in lithium prices, citing high raw material costs as a significant headwind for Tesla Inc.

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