The country wants to spur investment in the sector and leverage its resources.
India currently imports most of its critical mineral demand from foreign countries. Yet, with recent discoveries of deposits, such as a lithium one in the country’s north, calls for decreasing this dependency have grown louder. To address this, the Indian government announced auctioning off mining rights for 100 critical mineral blocks earlier this year. Now, the Asian country has opened biddings on the first tranche, comprised of 20 blocks worth $5.4 billion. According to the official press release by the Indian Ministry of Mines (PDF), the blocks auctioned off now are, among others, lithium, rare earth, graphite, and titanium deposits.
The Indian government released its first-ever list of 30 minerals classified as critical for economic prosperity and climate change targets in June. While the now-opened auctions could help reduce import dependencies of these raw materials eventually, until a mine is operational, multiple years or even decades of preparations will have to be done. In addition, mining is just the first step. Further processing is needed for most of the raw materials auctioned off before they can be used in the designated technology.
Applications can be submitted until January 16th, 2024, and are open to foreign and domestic bidders. The government will reimburse half of the exploration costs to incentivize participation in India’s rush for critical minerals.
Photo: iStock/Oleksii Liskonih