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Government to Auction Critical Mineral Blocks

by Abdullah
Government to Auction Critical Mineral Blocks

The Ministry of Mines plans to hold the first tranche auction of vital and strategic minerals on November 29, 2023. The Union Minister of Coal, Mines, and Parliamentary Affairs, Pralhad Joshi, will launch the auctioning process for 20 blocks of essential and strategic minerals, according to a statement from the ministry.

Details about the mineral blocks, auction terms, and timings will be revealed at 6 p.m. on November 29, 2023, on the auction platform of MSTC—an acknowledged Mini Ratna Category-I Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the administrative jurisdiction of the Ministry of Steel.

The auction will be held online in two stages using an ascending forward auction mechanism, with eligible bidders chosen based on the highest percentage of the value of mineral dispatch quoted by them.

Recognizing the potential supply chain vulnerabilities caused by the limited availability or concentration of extraction and processing of these minerals in a few countries, the ministry emphasized that this initiative is a significant step that will fortify the economy, strengthen national security, and ease the transition to a clean energy future.

The Union government had unveiled its first critical minerals list on June 28, identifying 30 key critical minerals crucial for the nation’s economic growth and technological development. Currently, the demand for critical minerals is primarily met through imports.

Royalty rates for various minerals were specified by the government in March 2022 and October 12, 2023, to encourage domestic production. These minerals, including Platinum Group of Metals (PGM), Molybdenum, Glauconite, Potash, Lithium, Niobium, and Rare Earth Elements (REE), are expected to be part of the auction.

The global economy of the future is predicted to rely on minerals such as lithium, graphite, cobalt, titanium, and rare earth elements (REE). India has pledged to achieve 50% of cumulative installed capacity from non-fossil sources by 2030, increasing demand for electric vehicles, wind and solar energy projects, and battery storage systems, and thus increasing demand for these important minerals. These minerals are essential in a variety of industries, including renewable energy, defense, agriculture, medicines, high-tech electronics, telecommunications, transportation, and the construction of gigafactories.

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