CRITICAL RAW MATERIALS (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Economy)

News-CRUX-10     12th October 2023        
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Context: The Union Cabinet recently approved royalty rates for critical minerals including lithium, niobium, and rare earth elements (REEs).

  • The government’s initiative to auction critical minerals coincides with India’s goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2070. 
  • Lithium is extensively used in batteries, niobium finds applications in superalloys and superconductors, and REEs are vital components in electronics and clean energy technologies.

Critical Raw Materials

  • About: Critical minerals are a cluster of minerals crucial for diverse industrial sectors, carrying significant economic and security implications for a nation.
  • Found: Earth’s crust
  • Examples: Rare earth elements, lithium, cobalt, graphite, platinum group metals, and certain minerals and metals.
  • Top Producers: Chile, Indonesia, Congo, China, Australia and South Africa.
  • Niobium (Nb): It is an element in the Periodic Table with atomic number 41, and it's denoted by the symbol Nb.

oIt's a gentle, stretchable transition metal that doesn't corrode easily because it has a protective oxide layer on its surface.

  • Lithium (Li): A soft and shiny gray metal, that is present in the Earth's crust. It's an extremely reactive and alkaline element.

oPrimarily utilized in ceramics, glasses, greases, pharmaceuticals, air conditioners, and aluminum production.