India Launches Second Tranche of Auction for Critical and Strategic Mineral Blocks

The last date for the submission of bids is April 23, 2024


The Ministry of Mines has issued the second tranche of the auction for the grant of concessions for 18 critical and strategic mineral blocks across eight states, with 17 designated for the grant of composite license and one for the mining lease.

The Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mines, Pralhad Joshi, during the announcement, highlighted the diverse array of minerals up for auction in the second tranche, including Tungsten, Vanadium, Graphite, Rare Earth elements, Glauconite, Phosphorite, Nickel, Platinum group of minerals, Cobalt, and Potash.

Notably, the launch of Potash mining in India is a significant milestone achieved through this auction.

The mineral blocks are spread across states such as Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu.

The critical minerals from the list essential for clean energy include Tungsten, Vanadium, Graphite, Copper, Gold, Nickel, Cobalt, Manganese, Iron, Platinum-group elements (PGE), and Chromium.

The auction process has begun, with the sale of tender documents starting on the same day as the launch. The last date for purchasing the tender document is April 18, 2024. Bidders have to submit ₹300,000 (~$3,620) as cost of the document fee.

The last date for the submission of bids is April 23, 2024.

Interested parties can access detailed information about the mine locations, auction terms, and timelines on the MSTC auction platform.

The auction will be conducted online through a transparent two-stage ascending forward auction process. Eligible bidders will be selected based on the highest percentage of the value of mineral dispatch quoted by them.

During the launch event, the Ministry also distributed letters of financial grants to start-ups in the mining and mineral sector.

Additionally, the annual capacity-building plan for the Geological Survey of India (GSI) was released, and the government emphasized its commitment to fostering growth and innovation in the sector.

First Tranche

In his address, the Minister expressed satisfaction with the response from the mining industry during the first tranche, where twenty blocks were auctioned.

The strong interest demonstrated in the auction process was reaffirmed by the Ministry of Mines, which received over 50 bids for the first tranche of the auction of critical and strategic minerals.

The first tranche was earlier launched on November 29, 2023, which saw the auction of 20 critical and strategic mineral blocks, including minerals like glauconite, nickel, platinum group elements (PGE), potash, graphite, molybdenum, phosphorite, lithium, and rare earth elements (REE).

These blocks were distributed across states such as Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The technical bid evaluation for the first tranche took place on February 27, 2024, with more than 180 tender documents purchased by interested bidders. The bidders represented a diverse range of sectors, including mining companies, EV manufacturers, cement producers, and energy sector entities.

The bidding companies included Vedanta, Coal India, NLC  India, Shree Cement, Orient Cements, Ola Electric, Dalmia Group, Rungta Group, Jindal Power, etc.

The Ministry of Mines recently proposed changes to the Mineral (Auction) Rules, 2015, to cap the amount of performance security and upfront payments payable after winning the rights to extract minerals. The move addresses concerns regarding financial barriers that might impede bidder participation in auctions of critical minerals.

In September last year, the government announced a 25% incentive on the approved project cost for exploration agencies to enhance the exploration of critical minerals.