Ministry of Mines

Steps being taken by the Government  for becoming self-reliant in critical minerals

Posted On: 02 AUG 2023 2:19PM by PIB Delhi

India has been depending on imports for critical minerals such as lithium, nickel, copper, and cobalt. The details of import of Critical Minerals in 2022-23 are as under:

 

#

Critical mineral

HS Code(s)

Import (2022-23)

% import reliance

Quantity in Tonne

Value in Rs. Crore

1

Cobalt

2605

0.25

0.18

100%

81052020

171.36

72.02

2

Copper ore & concentrates

2603

11,78,919.88

27,374.43

93%

3

Lithium

28252000

1,119.78

552.53

100%

28369100

1,025.03

179.01

4

Nickel

2604

20

0.04

100%

7502

32,298.21

6,549.34

Source: Department of Commerce

 

Ministry of Mines has proposed to amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 to introduce exploration licence in the Act for deep-seated and critical minerals such as gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead, nickel, cobalt, platinum group of minerals, diamonds, etc. which are mentioned in the proposed 7th schedule of the MMDR Act.  Exploration licence granted through auction shall permit the licensee to undertake reconnaissance and prospecting operations for critical and deep-seated minerals mentioned in the new Seventh Schedule to the Act. The blocks explored by the Exploration Licence holder would be auctioned for mining lease within the prescribed timeline.  The exploration agency shall be entitled to a share in the auction premium payable by the mining lease holder. The proposed exploration license would facilitate, encourage and incentivize private sector participation in all spheres of mineral exploration for critical and deep seated minerals.

The Ministry has further proposed to omit certain minerals including Lithium bearing minerals from the list of atomic minerals specified in Part-B of the First Schedule to the Act. These minerals have various applications in space industry, electronics, communications, energy sector, electric batteries and are critical in net-zero emission commitment of India. Due to their inclusion in the list of atomic minerals, their mining and exploration is reserved for government entities. Upon removal of these minerals from Part-B of first schedule, exploration and mining of these minerals will be opened up for the private sector as well. As a result, exploration and mining of these minerals is expected to increase significantly in the country.

Ministry of Mines has invited comments / suggestions on 19.05.2023 from the general public, State Governments and Union Territories, mining industry stakeholders, industry associations, and other persons and entities concerned on the methodology for calculation of Average Sale Price and Value of Estimated Resources of lithium blocks to be auctioned.

Ministry of Mines has recently released a list of 30 minerals that are critical to our country. Identification of these critical minerals will help to strategically prioritize the development of the country’s mineral resources. Over the last few years, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has shifted its thrust from bulk commodities to deep-seated and critical minerals. From FS 2015-16 to FS 2021-22, GSI executed 503 mineral exploration projects on deep-seated and critical minerals. In FS 2022-23, 123 projects have been taken up in response to the increased thrust on exploration of deep-seated minerals. In the current field season 2023-24, GSI has taken up 122 exploration projects on deep seated and critical minerals.

This information was given by Union Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Shri Pralhad Joshi in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.

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BY/RKP



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