India Forges Ahead With Lithium Mining

by | 19. Jan 2024 - 10:37 | Politics

Dependence on imports is to be reduced through domestic and foreign mining.

The state-owned Indian mining company Coal India, one of the world’s largest coal producers, wants to enter the mining of critical minerals such as lithium. This was reported by the Indian newspaper The Hindu (paywall), among others. Coal India wants to take over mining rights from the government and start mining as soon as lithium has been proven through exploration.

India’s government recently announced that it would auction mining rights for 100 deposits of critical raw materials, including rare earths and lithium, starting with 20 blocks worth 5.4 billion dollars. Significant lithium deposits were discovered in the country for the first time at the beginning of last year. India wants to push ahead with extracting these and other domestic mineral resources to reduce its dependence on imports.

At the same time, the subcontinent is putting out feelers for foreign resources. Exploration and exclusive rights have now been acquired for five lithium blocks in the Argentinian province of Catamarca. The Indian Ministry of Mines concluded the agreement with the Argentinian state mining company CAMYEN via its subsidiary Khanij Bidesh India Limited. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (PDF), Argentina’s lithium deposits are among the largest in the world, but compared to Chile or Australia, for example, they have been mined relatively little to date.

Preliminary talks are also underway with Bolivia, which has the world’s largest resources of the critical mineral, writes Mining Magazine. To expand its expertise in raw material extraction, India is also expanding its cooperation with Australia, the world’s leading lithium producer, which is also gaining importance in the rare earths sector.

Photo: iStock/Derek Brumby

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