AUCTIONING OF CRITICAL MINERALS (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Economy)

News-CRUX-10     15th November 2023        
output themes

Context: The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation Amendment) Act, 2023, opened up six more critical minerals –beryllium, lithium, niobium, titanium, tantallium, and zirconium — to the private sector for exploration and mining.


Key Points

  • Critical minerals have gained significance in view of India’s commitment towards energy transition and achieving net-zero emission by 2070. 
  • The idea is to reduce the country’s import dependence for lithium, the key element for the manufacturing of EV batteries, to the extent possible.
  • India meets about 70% of its lithium requirement via imports, even as it seeks to increase the EV penetration from 1% now to 30% by 2030.
  • The current share of deep-seated minerals like copper, zinc, lead, gold, silver, diamond, nickel, cobalt and platinum group of minerals in total mineral production of India is insignificant. 

Critical Minerals

  • About: Critical minerals are a group of minerals that are essential for various industrial sectors and have strategic importance for a country’s economy and security. 
  • Scarcity, Economic Value, and Criticality: These minerals are distinguished by their rarity, high economic value, and crucial role in the production of advanced technologies and defense systems.
  • Priority in Industrial Sectors: The Critical Minerals List prioritizes minerals that are indispensable for industrial sectors such as high-tech electronics, telecommunications, transport, and defense.
  • India's Membership in Mineral Security Partnership (MSP): India has recently become the newest partner in the MSP, a collaboration aimed at enhancing the resilience of critical mineral supply chains.
Samadhaan