Critical Minerals and Critical Mineral Blocks of India

The Ministry of Mines has undertaken significant initiatives to address India’s strategic mineral requirements, notably constituting a committee to identify and recommend critical minerals for the country. Among the committee’s proposals was the establishment of a National Institute or “Centre of Excellence on Critical Minerals” (CECM) to periodically update and strategize the country’s critical mineral framework.

What are Critical Minerals?

Critical minerals are natural resources that are deemed essential for various industrial, technological, and defense applications but are also characterized by a high risk of supply disruption. These minerals play a crucial role in the functioning of modern economies due to their significance in manufacturing a wide range of products across diverse sectors.

Several factors contribute to a mineral being categorized as critical:

  1. Strategic Importance: They are vital for the functioning of key industries like aerospace, defense, renewable energy, electronics, and telecommunications.
  2. Limited Global Availability: These minerals might have limited global reserves or uneven geographical distribution, making their supply vulnerable to disruptions caused by geopolitical tensions, trade policies, or natural disasters.
  3. Technological Significance: They possess unique properties that are irreplaceable in specific technological applications, making substitutes challenging to find.
  4. Economic Impact: Supply disruptions of critical minerals can significantly impact various industries, affecting production, supply chains, and economic stability.

Initiatives and Collaborations for Mineral Acquisition

In line with recommendations of Committee , Khanij Bidesh India Ltd. (KABIL), a joint venture company formed by three Central Public Sector Enterprises, aims to ensure a consistent supply of critical minerals to the domestic market. KABIL has initiated collaborations with source countries such as Argentina and Australia, facilitated by the Ministry of External Affairs and Indian Embassies, to acquire mineral assets overseas, focusing primarily on critical and strategic minerals.

Legislative Amendments and Auctions

The Central Government amended the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act, 1957 (MMDR Act, 1957) to include 24 critical and strategic minerals in Part D of Schedule-I. This amendment empowers the government to auction mineral blocks, with the first tranche of auctions for 20 blocks launched on November 29, 2023.

Here’s the list of critical mineral blocks:

Sl NoBlock NameStateMineralML/CL
1Chutia-Nauhatta Glauconite BlockBiharGlauconiteCL
2Pipradih-Bhurwa Glauconite BlockBiharGlauconiteCL
3Genjana Nickel, Chromium and PGE BlockBiharNickel, Chromium, and PGECL
4Kundol Nickel and Chromium BlockGujaratNickel & ChromiumCL
5Muskaniya-Gareriatola-Barwari Potash BlockJharkhandPotashCL
6Dudhiasol East Nickel and Copper BlockOdishaNickel and CopperML
7Babja Graphite and Manganese BlockOdishaGraphite and ManganeseML
8Biarapalli Graphite and Manganese BlockOdishaGraphite and ManganeseML
9Akharkata Graphite BlockOdishaGraphiteCL
10Vellakal Central (Segment-A) Molybdenum BlockTamil NaduMolybdenum OreCL
11Nochchipatti Molybednum BlockTamil NaduMolybdenum OreCL
12Velampatti North A & B Molybdenum BlockTamil NaduMolybdenum OreCL
13Kurunjakulam Graphite BlockTamil NaduGraphiteCL
14Iluppakudi Graphite BlockTamil NaduGraphiteCL
15Mannadipatti Central Molybdenum BlockTamil NaduMolybdenumCL
16Marudipatti (Central) Molybdenum BlockTamil NaduMolybdenumML
17Kurchha Glauconite BlockUttar PradeshGlauconiteCL
18PahadiKalan – Gora Kalan Phosphorite BlockUttar PradeshPhosphoriteCL
19Salal-Haimna Lithium, Titanium, and Bauxite BlockUT: Jammu and KashmirLithium, Titanium, and Bauxite (Aluminous Laterite)CL
20Katghora Lithium and REE BlockChhattisgarhLithium and REECL

List of India’s Critical Minerals

As per the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act,1957 (MMDR Act, 1957), 24 minerals have been identified as critical and strategic minerals for India. Here’s a list of these critical minerals:

1. Antimony2. Bauxite3. Bismuth4. Boron5. Chromite6. Cobalt
7. Graphite8. Lead9. Lithium10. Magnesite11. Manganese12. Nickel
13. Phosphorite14. Potash15. Rare Earth16. Scandium17. Tantalum18. Titanium
19. Tungsten20. Vanadium21. Gallium22. Germanium23. Hafnium24. Indium
25. Palladium26. Platinum27. Selenium28. Tellurium29. Thallium30. Zirconium

Research and International Collaborations

Under its ‘Science and Technology Programme,’ the Ministry of Mines offers grants for research and innovation in mining, mineral processing, metallurgy, and recycling sectors. A significant focus area includes extracting strategic and critical minerals at the elemental level. Additionally, the Ministry actively engages in Mineral Security Partnerships and bilateral/multilateral collaborations to ensure India’s critical mineral demands are met.

Conclusion: Forging Pathways to Mineral Security

India’s endeavors in identifying, acquiring, and securing critical minerals underscore the nation’s commitment to self-reliance and resource sufficiency. Through legislative amendments, collaborative ventures, and focused research initiatives, the Ministry of Mines is carving pathways towards bolstering the country’s mineral security and resilience in a rapidly evolving global landscape.

Source: PIB

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