Four PSUs actively looking for critical mineral assets abroad: Mines Secretary

Four PSUs are actively engaged in scouting for critical mineral assets abroad, said Mines Secretary VL Kantha Rao
Four PSUs actively looking for critical mineral assets abroad: Mines Secretary
Four PSUs actively looking for critical mineral assets abroad: Mines SecretaryX
Summary
  • Coal India, ONGC Videsh, NMDC and KABIL actively engaged in scouting for critical mineral assets abroad, said Mines Secretary

  • Coal India actively pursuing Lithium blocks in Chile

  • KABIL has been studying Bolivia

  • NMDC is looking for Lithium mines in Australia

  • India is exploring a joint collaboration with Zambia on exploration of critical minerals

New Delhi: Four Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) — Coal India Limited, ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), NMDC Limited and KABIL (Khanij Bidesh India Ltd) — are actively engaged in scouting for critical mineral assets abroad, said VL Kantha Rao, Secretary, Ministry of Mines, on Wednesday. Speaking to the media on the sidelines of a workshop on offshore mining in New Delhi, Rao said that all of these PSUs have some kind of a presence abroad already.

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“A group of secretaries (on resources) has decided that these companies (Coal India, NMDC, ONGC Videsh Ltd) move forward and look at critical mineral assets abroad also. It is an easy method. All these companies which already have some kind of presence abroad will now actively start looking at critical mineral assets abroad,” Rao told reporters. KABIL, a joint venture of three PSUs — National Aluminium Company Ltd (NALCO), Hindustan Copper Ltd (HCL) and Mineral Exploration and Consultancy Ltd (MECL) — which comes under the Ministry of Mines has been formed to scout for mineral assets overseas.

Coal India pursuing Lithium blocks in Chile, KABIL studying Bolivia

While Coal India is actively pursuing Lithium blocks in Chile, KABIL has been studying Bolivia, and NMDC, which is already engaged in a gold mine in Australia, is looking for Lithium mines there, said the Secretary. He added that the government is planning to send more PSUs to engage with Bolivia on critical minerals.

The Mines Secretary also said that the government is looking at government-to-government tie-ups with Chile for gaining access to Lithium and Copper assets. “We are looking at expanding the current FTA with Chile to include a chapter on critical minerals. So that we can get G2G (government to government) access to those assets,” Rao said. India has been looking at critical mineral assets in Australia for a long time. “This year, we aim to do something in Australia,” Rao said.

Four PSUs actively looking for critical mineral assets abroad: Mines Secretary
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India exploring joint critical mineral exploration projects with Zambia

India is exploring a joint collaboration with Zambia on exploration of critical minerals. “In Zambia, we have a JWG (Joint Working Group) meeting where we want to do something on a G2G basis on exploration. Because Zambia has made a request that they want some help in exploration,” said the Mines Secretary.

Critical minerals, such as copper, lithium, nickel and cobalt, have assumed significance as they are important components in rapidly growing clean energy technologies, right from wind turbines and electricity networks to electric vehicles.

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