Govt may permit private miners to extract lithium

The Government is attempting to modify the law to permit private miners to extract lithium, a crucial component of batteries used in electric vehicles and energy storage, as the country strives to become more self-sufficient in green technologies.

The Modi government aims to change current laws during the current session of parliament, an official reported this to Bloomberg.

There will be a removal of eight minerals from the restricted list that presently forbids production by private enterprises, including lithium, beryllium, and zirconium. This would enable the government to auction off licences to explore lithium reserves, Bloomberg quoted a source.

In wake of this action, the government is also aiming to reduce India’s dependence on imports for some key minerals while putting the country in a better position to compete in the lucrative battery supply chain.

The country also seeks to expand domestic production of a variety of zero-emission technologies in order to meet its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2070 and to benefit from opportunities presented by the world’s transition to cleaner energy.

It has also committed to constructing 500 gigawatts of clean energy capacity by 2030, and it is believed that in order to make it possible for renewable energy to be used continuously, massive amounts of battery storage must be deployed.

According to the mines ministry, government organisations have been searching for lithium and have found a modest supply at a location in the Karnataka state. However, India would still need to identify and develop more deposits if it wanted to produce lithium on any significant scale and lessen its

on imports.

China is the top refiner in the world, while Australia and Chile now provide the most raw materials.

As per the data from the trade ministry, India’s imports of lithium-ion batteries increased by 54 percent from a year earlier to $1.83 billion in the year ended in March.

Despite India’s efforts to avoid imports from its northern neighbour, China and Hong Kong together accounted for over 87 percent of the purchases. Along with efforts to increase domestic output, the nation is also looking abroad for lithium and cobalt assets. To purchase mines abroad, a joint venture has been established with National Aluminium Co.,

., and Mineral Exploration Corp.

Inputs from Bloomberg

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Harry Byrne

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