NMDC exploring lithium assets in Africa & Aus

India is looking at Africa for minerals, including cobalt, and other critical minerals, Mines Secretary V L Kantha Rao said on Friday. The country is still engaging with Australia for lithium blocks, he said.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function here, the secretary said, “In Africa, we are looking at Zambia, Namibia, Congo, Ghana and Mozambique for critical minerals.”

Critical minerals, including lithium and cobalt, are crucial for technology, manufacturing and other industries.

Rao further said the rules for auction of offshore minerals blocks are being readied and that 10 offshore blocks would be put on sale.

The auction of offshore blocks, he said, will take place after the elections.

Rao said the result of the first round of auction of critical minerals will be out in 10 days.

He further said the lithium block in Jammu and Kashmir that was put on sale in the first round will now be auctioned in the third tranche as it received only two bids.

The government had this month launched the third tranche of auction of critical and strategic minerals.

A total of seven critical mineral blocks have been put up for sale in the third round.

“These seven mineral blocks are auctioned under second attempt of auction as per sub-rule 10 and sub-rule 11(b) of rule 9 of Mineral (Auction) Rules 2015,” the mines ministry had said in a statement.

The Centre has launched auction of 38 critical and strategic minerals to date.

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