In an announcement made on Wednesday, the Union Cabinet approved royalty rates for some critical and strategic minerals. This decision comes after Minister of Mines, Vivek Bharadwaj announced that India will be auctioning some critical mineral mines. The royalty for Lithium, Rare Earth Elements (REE) and Niobium are 3%, 1% and 3% respectively.
In August, there were some reports that mentioned the fact that India will be auctioning 100 critical mineral mines. Vivek, the Minister of Mines, revealed that the mines that are being prepared for auction include Nickel, Lithium, Cobalt, Platinum minerals and other REE. He said that the process is almost done and the mines to be auctioned are also identified. The tender for bidders may come out in December and the auctioning can start as early as 3 months from December.
Although India has the highest mineral royalties in the world, they made some changes in their mining policy in July. The change in policies aims to promote mineral exploration by private companies. This reform can be key to auctioning big Lithium blocks recently discovered in Jammu Kashmir and Karnataka.
India has been looking for ways to secure a sustainable source of Lithium, as Lithium is the most important element in EVs and batteries in general. In February, India found a large deposit of Lithium in a mine located in Jammu Kashmir which is estimated to be around 5.9 million tons.
A government official also said that many foreign miners are also showing interest in mining in India. This can be a very good thing, but for now, all we can say is that mining these critical elements can have very good consequences for India and its economy.