Rare earth element (REE) mining
Rare earth element (REE) mining Getty Images

Govt To Open Bids For 20 Critical Mineral Blocks In Next 2 Weeks

A comprehensive list of the precious mineral blocks that will be put up for auction in the upcoming weeks has not been made public yet.

The government plans to increase the production of essential minerals in India by inviting bids for 20 mineral blocks within the next two weeks, according to a report by PTI.

Lithium and graphite mines are among the 20 crucial blocks, Mines Secretary V L Kantha Rao informed reporters on Tuesday, 14 November.

Up until now, a comprehensive list of the precious mineral blocks that will be put up for auction in the upcoming weeks has not been made public. Furthermore, it's yet unclear when these blocks will be put up for sale.

The Centre authorised royalty rates last month: one percent for Rare Earth Elements (REE) and three percent apiece for lithium and niobium. Critical minerals are now a crucial component of both the economic development and national security of India, given the country's emphasis on lowering its reliance on fossil fuels and its goal of having net zero emissions.

The Ministry of Mines intends to sell off a number of significant mineral blocks as part of a long-term plan. There's a chance that the auction may sell about 100 blocks, per a report from The Hindu Businessline.

In August 2023, the auction of these precious mineral blocks was approved. The selection of SBI Caps as transaction consultants came after the auction was approved.

The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act was amended in July 2023, in an effort to speed up India's transition to a green economy. Private investments in certain important minerals, such as lithium, were permitted under the amendment.

In the upcoming months, there will be an auction of graphite blocks from east Indian states like Jharkhand, Odisha, and Bihar. The eastern region, primarily Odisha, is home to the nickel blocks that have been identified for bidding, insiders informed The Hindu.

Essential mineral components such as lithium are essential to the production of electric cars. Massive lithium deposits totaling an estimated 5.9 million tonnes were discovered in Jammu and Kashmir in February.

Graphene sheets, lubricants, batteries, nuclear reactors, refractory, and other sectors employ graphite. Many precious minerals, including nickel, are not mined in India at the moment.

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