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No benefits likely from 38 critical blocks put on sale in this decade: Icra

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No benefits likely from 38 critical blocks put on sale in this decade: Icra
38 crucial blocks that were placed up for sale this decade are unlikely to provide any benefits. Icra

Icra stated on Wednesday that because the mines have not been thoroughly investigated, gains from the 38 crucial mineral blocks that have been placed up for sale are unlikely to materialise in the present decade, which ends in 2030.

The initial phase of investigation for the majority of the domestic blocks up for auction indicates that it is doubtful that their benefits and commercialization would materialise in the present decade, which ends in 2030. Consequently, in the interim, India’s downstream industrial facilities are probably going to be vulnerable to any future supply disruptions of vital minerals, according to a statement from Icra.

In the current auctions, the government is selling two blocks of lithium. There are clay deposits in the one in Jammu and Kashmir. Lithium extraction from hard rock and brine deposits has advanced technologically, however there is still no proven method for extracting lithium from clay deposits worldwide. A re-auction of the J&K lithium block was necessary due to these difficulties, according to Girishkumar Kadam, Senior Vice-President & Group Head, Corporate Sector Ratings,

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However, the lithium block in Katghora, Chhattisgarh, that is up for sale has a hard rock deposit. This ore is a member of the larger class of minerals called lepidolite that contain lithium. Lithium is produced in huge quantities in China from lepidolite ores. As a result, there will probably be far more rivalry to acquire the Katghora mine than there was for the J&K block.

However, Kadam noted that the commercialization of domestic essential mineral resources still depends on advances in mineral beneficiation and processing technology, given the lower quality of explored domestic ores.

As a backup plan to guarantee mineral security, the government is considering purchasing foreign assets from important resource-rich regions like South America, Australia, and Africa in addition to developing its own crucial mineral resources.

The first Indian company to purchase foreign lithium brine assets in Argentina is Khanij Bidesh India Ltd, a joint venture between NALCO, Hindustan Copper, and Mineral Exploration Company.

Due to the nation’s deficiency in vital mineral deposits required for the green transition, minerals such as nickel, cobalt, and lithium are entirely imported. As a result, the Centre has begun the process of selling 38 blocks of vital minerals by auction.

Furthermore, the Mines Ministry launched the “Exploration” auction since the risk profile of exploratory activities for crucial, deep-seated minerals is substantially higher than for bulk or superficial minerals.

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