Mines Ministry to Auction 20 Critical Mineral Reserves in Upcoming Fortnight

Critical minerals are indispensable for the energy transition towards a low carbon-emission economy


The Ministry of Mines will auction 20 blocks of critical minerals, including lithium and graphite, within the next two weeks, Mines Secretary V K Kantha Rao has said.

The planned auction follows the amendment to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, setting reduced royalty rates for three critical and strategic minerals – lithium, niobium, and rare earth elements – used in the energy transition technologies.

The loyalty rates were reduced in October from a default rate of 12% of average selling (ASP) to 3% of the London Metal Exchange price for lithium, 3% of ASP for niobium, and 1% of ASP for rare earth oxide.

Emphasizing the importance of indigenous technology in mining and processing critical minerals, Rao highlighted the ministry’s commitment to exploring home-grown solutions for critical minerals.

Union Minister of Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi said minerals serve as raw materials for many industries but are also crucial to the energy transition to a low carbon-emission economy.

The government has taken several steps to reform the mining and minerals sector and encourage private players to participate in mining auctions.

In June, India unveiled its first-ever report on “Critical Minerals for India,” identifying a list of 30 critical minerals, comprising lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite, cadmium, silicon, indium, and tellurium used in renewables.

Critical minerals are integral to contemporary industries, encompassing electronics, defense, and renewable energy.

In September, the government announced a 25% incentive on the approved project cost for exploration agencies in a bid to enhance the exploration of critical minerals. The decision aims to expedite the discovery and extraction of critical minerals, reduce the country’s dependence on imports, and foster self-sufficiency in these vital resources.

Early this year, the government announced the discovery of 5.9 million tons of lithium reserves for the first time in the country in the Reasi district of Jammu & Kashmir.