Australia earmarks five lithium mines for Indian companies

Australian authorities have identified at least five mines containing lithium and cobalt, and these resources have been earmarked for Indian entities, led by the state-owned Khanij Bidesh India (KABIL). KABIL is a joint venture involving state-run entities like NALCO, Hindustan Copper, and the Mineral Exploration Corporation. This development is a positive step for India’s efforts to secure essential minerals from abroad.

The collaboration between India and Australia, initiated after the Covid-19 outbreak, aims to establish a resilient supply chain and reduce dependency on China. The Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA), supported by KABIL and Australia’s Critical Minerals Office, is gaining momentum in this regard. Discussions for a dedicated chapter on critical minerals are expected to occur during an upcoming full free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries.

India is also exploring similar opportunities in other countries like Mongolia, Argentina, and Chile, focusing on minerals such as copper and lithium. The Indian government is considering potential FTAs with Peru and Chile to secure critical minerals. In addition to securing the supply of these minerals, India is also taking steps to enhance domestic processing capabilities, particularly in areas where China dominates.

To support the processing of these minerals, India is inviting laboratories to contribute their expertise in developing technologies for mineral processing used in battery manufacturing. Recent amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act are expected to boost domestic mining efforts, with a focus on exploration and development. India’s investment in domestic mining is comparatively lower, and these efforts aim to increase investment and secure critical mineral resources for the nation’s energy transition and economic development.

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