Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi initiated the auction of 20 critical minerals, collectively valued at Rs 45,000 crore. Among these minerals, two prominent lithium blocks—one situated in Jammu & Kashmir and the other in Chhattisgarh—stood out as highlights.
Joshi proudly highlighted the groundbreaking identification and subsequent auctioning of these deep-seated minerals, spanning across multiple states such as Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Jharkhand, and Bihar. Notably, the generated revenue from these auctions will exclusively benefit the respective states.
Auction Dynamics and Future Prospects
The ongoing auction, set to conclude on February 20, offers 16 blocks eligible for composite license grants and four earmarked for mining leases. Joshi emphasized that this launch represents only the initial phase, with comprehensive plans to introduce additional critical mineral blocks in successive rounds.
Recognizing the importance of industry feedback, Joshi articulated the government's commitment to modifying relevant laws to streamline operations within the domain of clean energy technologies.
India's Lithium Discovery and Regulatory Adjustments
India's significant strides in the mining sector include the momentous discovery of its first lithium deposits, estimated at 5.9 million tonnes, situated in Jammu & Kashmir. Furthermore, the nation enacted pivotal regulatory changes in July, permitting private entities to explore these materials, signifying a monumental shift in the mining landscape.
Joshi underlined the profound importance of critical minerals in bolstering India's economic development and fortifying national security. The criticality of these minerals extends across sectors such as renewable energy, defense, and agriculture, meeting burgeoning demand and reducing reliance on imports.
This will first ever auction of critical and strategic minerals by the mines ministry after the government amended mining laws during the monsoon session of Parliament to allow the private sector to explore and mine these important minerals.