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20 Blocks of Critical & Strategic Minerals to be auctioned

By TIOL News Service

NEW DELHI, NOV 28, 2023: THE Ministry of Mines, will be launching the first tranche auction of critical and strategic minerals here on 29th November, 2023. As Chief Guest, Union Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs, Pralhad Joshi will be launching the first ever critical minerals auction process. Twenty blocks of critical and strategic minerals being auctioned are spread across the country. This is a landmark initiative that will boost our economy, enhance national security and support our transition to a clean energy future.

Critical minerals are essential for our country's economic development and national security. The lack of availability of these minerals or concentration of their extraction or processing in a few countries may lead to supply chain vulnerabilities. The future global economy will be underpinned by technologies that depend on minerals such as lithium, graphite, cobalt, titanium and rare earth elements (REE). India has committed to achieve 50% of cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil sources by 2030. Such ambitious plan for energy transition is set to drive the demand for electric cars, wind and solar energy projects and battery storage systems thereby increasing the demand for these critical minerals.

Critical and Strategic Minerals are in high demand and the same is usually met by imports. Critical minerals cater to the needs of sectors like renewable energy, defence, agriculture, pharmaceutical, high-tech electronics, telecommunications, transport, creation of gigafactories etc.

Recently, through an amendment in the MMDR Act on 17th August 2023, 24 minerals were notified as Critical and Strategic minerals. The amendment confers the power to grant mineral concession of these minerals to Central Government so that Central Government can prioritise auction of these minerals looking at the requirements of the country. The revenue generated from these auctions shall accrue to State Governments. Subsequently, 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%, Glauconite and Potash at 2.5% in March, 2022.  On 12th October, 2023 the Government has specified royalty rates for Lithium at 3%, Niobium at 3% and Rare Earth Elements at 1%.

 The commencement of sale of tender document shall start from 29th November, 2023. Details of the mineral blocks, auction terms, timelines etc. can be accessed on MSTC auction platform at www.mstcecommerce.com/auctionhome/mlcl/index.jsp from 6 pm on 29th November, 2023. The auction shall be held online through a transparent two stage ascending forward auction process. The eligible bidder shall be selected based on the highest percentage of the value of mineral despatched quoted by them.


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