Critical minerals like lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite are essential inputs for many high-demand manufactured products.
Union Minister Pralhad Joshi’s visit to Australia aims to develop secure and commercially viable strategic critical minerals for India.
Aimed at securing strategic critical minerals, Union Minister of Coal and Mines, Pralhad Joshi, began his six-day Australia tour on Sunday (3 July).
During this visit, Pralhad Joshi will meet Resources and Northern Australia Minister Madeleine King, Minister Bill Johnston MLA, Minister for Mines and Petroleum and will be visiting mineral-rich sites of Tianqi Lithium Kwinana and Greenbushes Mine.
The union minister’s visit would build on the MoU signed between Khanij Bidesh India Ltd. (KABIL), a joint venture of three CPSEs under the Ministry of Mines, and the Critical Minerals Facilitation Office (CMFO) of Australia, which aims to develop secure and commercially viable critical minerals supply chains.
The India-Australia Critical Minerals Investment Partnership announced in March this year envisages joint investment for viable lithium and cobalt projects in Australia, which is critical for India’s transition towards clean energy ambitions.
Under this partnership, the Indian and Australian Governments allocated $5.8 million.
Also, under this partnership, KABIL and CMFO would conduct due diligence on select brownfield and greenfield projects to recognise cobalt and lithium mineral assets for final joint investment decisions and acquisitions.
“These steps will complement India’s mineral security for E-mobility initiatives and other diversified sectors entailing usage of critical and strategic minerals,” the Ministry of Mines said.
Critical minerals like lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite, light rare earth elements (LREEs), heavy rare earth elements (HREEs), titanium and vanadium are essential inputs for many high-demand manufactured products.
They have diverse applications, mainly for renewable energy, electric mobility, power generation, high-end electronics, aerospace, defence, and data transmission hardware.
The increased engagement with Australia in the space of critical minerals comes at a time when the central government is carrying out the $2.4 billion production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for companies to build battery cells locally for electric vehicles (EVs).
Lithium is an essential raw material to make batteries for EVs.