First critical mineral block auctions winners to be announced on Monday – ET Auto

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First critical mineral block auctions winners to be announced on Monday – ET Auto


India relies heavily on import for meeting its requirement for critical minerals like Lithium, Niobium and Rare Earth Elements (REE).

Winners of six critical mineral blocks under the first round of auctions will be announced on Monday. The preferred bidder for the hotly contested Katghora block will be among those being unveiled, making it India’s first lithium and rare earth element (REE) mine.

This bid round was launched on November 23 last year with 20 mines. But auctions for 14 of these blocks was annulled citing tepid response. Another 18 blocks were to be auctioned in the second round but bids for 14 have been scrapped due to the poor response.

According to officials aware of the first round of bids, blocks holding phosphorite and fertiliser minerals have got 5-6 bids per mine. The lithium block in Chhattisgarh has got more than 10 bids while graphite mines have 4-5 bidders per block.

A third round of auctions for seven blocks, bids for which were annulled in the first attempt, is underway. In all 38 critical and strategic mineral blocks have been on the block till date.

An official statement said the fourth round of critical mineral auctions will also be launched on Monday. In addition, a new scheme for partial reimbursement of exploration expenses by exploration licence holders will be unveiled.

Besides these, certificates to two Notified Private Exploration Agencies (NPEAs) will be handed over during the Monday event, the statement added. It was also stated that sanction letters of grant will be handed over to Start-ups and Research and Development (R&D) institutes. The grants are for exploring measures to increase the efficiency in extraction of mineral resources and in its conversion into viable economic alloys and metals.

The Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act was amended in 2023. This empowered the Central Government to auction mineral concession of 24 critical and strategic minerals.

India relies heavily on import for meeting its requirement for critical minerals like Lithium, Niobium and Rare Earth Elements (REE). These minerals find application in new age technologies like electric vehicles. pharmaceuticals, and defence manufacturing.

  • Published On Jun 23, 2024 at 03:52 PM IST

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