Partial Auction of Critical and Strategic Minerals

    • Union Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Pralhad Joshi will be launching.
    • Twenty blocks spread across the country are being selected.

    About Critical Minerals:

    • They are essential for a nation’s economic development and national security.
    • The lack of availability of these minerals or the concentration of their extraction or processing in a few countries may lead to supply chain vulnerabilities.
    • The future global economy will be determined by technologies that depend on minerals such as lithium, graphite, cobalt, titanium and rare earth elements (REE).
    • India aims to achieve 50% of cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil sources by 2030. Such an ambitious plan for energy transition is set to drive the demand for electric cars, wind and solar energy projects and battery storage systems which will increase the demand for critical minerals.
    • They are in high demand and are usually met by imports.
    • They cater to the needs of sectors like renewable energy, defence, agriculture, pharmaceutical, high-tech electronics, telecommunications, transport, creation of gigafactories, etc.

    Recent Improvements:

    • In an amendment in the MMDR Act on 17th August 2023, 24 minerals were notified as Critical and Strategic minerals.
    • It confers the power to grant mineral concession of these minerals to the Central Government.
    • To prioritise the auction of these minerals.
    • The revenue from the auctions shall accrue to State Governments.
    • Royalty rates of critical minerals have been rationalized to encourage more participation in auctions.
    • The Government had specified royalty rates for Platinum Group of Metals (PGM) at 4%, Molybdenum at 7.5%, and Glauconite and Potash at 2.5% in March.
    • On 12th October, 2023 the Government specified royalty rates for Lithium at 3%, Niobium at 3% and Rare Earth Elements at 1%.
Posted in Current Affairs.