India Unveils Critical Minerals List to Boost Clean Energy and Cut Imports

The report released by the Ministry of Mines identified a list of 30 critical minerals.


Union Minister of Coal, Mines & Parliamentary Affairs, Pralhad Joshi, has unveiled India’s first-ever report on “Critical Minerals for India,” identifying a list of 30 critical minerals, comprising Lithium, Cobalt, Nickel, Graphite, Cadmium, Silicon, Indium, Tellurium among others imperative for the development of renewables such as electric vehicles and solar.

The list was identified considering resource and reserve position, production, import dependency, future technology, clean energy use, and agricultural requirements.

It is expected to play an important role in executing the required policies to ensure regulated extraction of these minerals essential for the growth of the renewables sector. The country, for now, continues to depend on imports of such raw materials to develop renewable technologies domestically.

Vivek Bharadwaj, Secretary Ministry of Mines, stressed the urgency of reevaluating India’s mineral requirements in light of international commitments to reduce carbon emissions and achieve net-zero targets.

With an increasing focus on energy transition and sustainability, the Ministry acknowledges the need to periodically revisit the critical mineral list to align with evolving demands and emerging technologies.

The report, prepared by an expert team constituted by the Ministry of Mines, comes as a crucial step in India’s journey towards self-reliance and security in the domain of mineral resources.

The Ministry formed a seven-member committee to identify critical minerals for the country. The committee conducted a three-stage assessment process to determine the list of critical minerals.

In the first stage, the committee studied the critical minerals strategies of various countries and considered 69 elements/minerals that were considered critical by major global economies.

The second stage involved an inter-ministerial consultation to identify minerals critical to specific sectors. Feedback was received from representatives of various ministries and organizations.

The third stage aimed to derive an empirical formula for identifying critical minerals.

The committee consulted with the International Energy Agency (IEA) and adopted the EU methodology, considering economic importance and supply risk factors.

The identified minerals also include Antimony, Beryllium, Bismuth, Copper, Gallium, Germanium, Hafnium, Molybdenum, Niobium, PGE, Phosphorous, Potash, REE, Rhenium, Strontium, Tantalum,  Tin, Titanium, Tungsten, Vanadium, Zirconium, and Selenium.

The Geological Survey of India (GSI) is currently focused on exploring and assessing these critical and deep-seated minerals.

Minerals like lithium, graphite, cobalt, titanium, and rare earth elements are crucial for various sectors, including high-tech electronics, telecommunications, transport, defense, and the global transition to a low-carbon emissions economy.

India has been recently included as the newest partner in the Mineral Security Partnership (MSP) following Prime Minister Modi’s recent visit to the United States.

The partnership aims to strengthen critical mineral supply chains, ensuring a steady and secure supply of minerals vital to the nation’s strategic interests.

The committee also recommended the creation of a Centre of Excellence for Critical Minerals (CECM) within the Ministry of Mines.

The CECM will update the list of critical minerals, develop a critical mineral strategy, and facilitate the development of an effective value chain for critical minerals in the country.

Recently, months after the GSI announced the discovery of lithium reserves in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), officials in the Rajasthan government said that they had discovered lithium in the state.

The Government of India is set to auction the 5.9 million tons of lithium reserves found in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district in December this year.