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India to allow private miners to extract critical minerals — RT India

India is set to hold its first-ever auction of deposit blocks containing critical and strategic minerals for exploration purposes, local media reported on Tuesday.

According to the Ministry of Mines, the first tranche of auctions will launch on Wednesday, when 20 ‘blocks’, or deposits with evidence of minerals such as lithium and graphite, will be up for bidding.

The open ascending price auction will be held online. The deposits are spread across the country and details of the blocks and auction terms are available on the auctioneer’s platform.

“This is a landmark initiative that will boost our economy, enhance national security and support our transition to a clean energy future,” the government said in a statement, as quoted by local media.

Critical and strategic minerals identified by the Indian government include lithium, cobalt, titanium, graphite, and rare earth elements. The minerals are widely used in various sectors, including renewable energy, electronics, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, transport, and defense.

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The Indian government has been actively seeking means to secure a stable supply of lithium, which is essential for manufacturing electric vehicle batteries. In February, the first lithium deposits were discovered in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, with estimated reserves of 5.9 million tonnes. In July, the country introduced reforms designed to allow private mining companies to search for minerals.

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