India, US working on tech to process critical minerals – ET Auto

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India is also in talks with the European Union to discuss the possibility of joining the proposed EU Critical Raw Materials Club, which is expected to bring together like-minded partners to strengthen supply chains for battery and other green technology-related ‘critical materials’.

India and the US are working on a collaboration mechanism to jointly develop technologies to process critical minerals. If the deal goes through, it will be in addition to the US-led Minerals Security Partnership (MSP), a grouping of 14 nations including the European Union.

India and the US have held the first round of meetings to work out the contours of a new collaboration. The idea is to identify and develop specific processing technologies for critical minerals through which institutions and laboratories could work together, people in the know said. The process of identifying project-specific details and institutes in both the countries has also begun.

“The aim is to pursue a bilateral and multilateral approach on critical minerals. Besides MSP, India was keen on a bilateral and institution-level collaboration with the US to develop domestic capabilities and research and development ecosystem for the critical minerals supply chain,” an official in the know told ET.

Following the fourth MSP Principals’ Meeting in London in October, the first for India as a member nation, New Delhi has identified four blocks in Africa and South America that hold special interest for the country’s needs. The mines ministry is also learnt to have written to public sector units to undertake these projects, ET has learnt.

India is also in talks with the European Union to discuss the possibility of joining the proposed EU Critical Raw Materials Club, which is expected to bring together like-minded partners to strengthen supply chains for battery and other green technology-related ‘critical materials’.

The intent is to reduce dependency on China and pool resources for self-reliance in energy transition – an area of high priority for the US, most parts of Europe and India.

Currently, China dominates the global concentration of mineral deposits and processing of critical minerals. Implications are, therefore, high for India, especially since it is committed to achieving 50% of cumulative installed power capacity from non-fossil sources by 2030.

Energy transition technologies are heavily dependent on critical minerals such as copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt and rare earth elements. They are key to all major clean energy technologies used across sectors – from electric vehicles to wind turbines, electricity magnets and solar photovoltaic cells.

The 2023 Economic Survey had termed rare earth elements and critical minerals as the next possible ‘geopolitical battleground’ just as crude oil has been for the last 50 years. It also flagged the need to create ‘strategic mineral reserves’ along the lines of strategic petroleum reserves.

  • Published On Jan 13, 2024 at 07:47 AM IST

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