Centre identified 30 critical minerals

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Recently, the Centre has identified ‘30 critical minerals’, which are essential for the country’s economic development and national security. Key-highlights:
  • The identification of these minerals was done on the basis of a report on critical minerals prepared by an expert team constituted by the Ministry of Mines.
  • In November 2022, the Ministry of Mines had constituted a seven-member Committee to identify a list of minerals critical to our country and the panel decided to have a ‘three-stage assessment’ to arrive at a list of critical minerals.
  • Using this process, a total of 30 minerals were found to be most critical for India, out of which two are critical as fertiliser minerals:
    • Antimony, Beryllium, Bismuth, Cobalt, Copper, Gallium, Germanium, Graphite, Hafnium, Indium, Lithium, Molybdenum, Niobium, Nickel, PGE, Phosphorous, Potash, REE, Rhenium, Silicon, Strontium, Tantalum, Tellurium, Tin, Titanium, Tungsten, Vanadium, Zirconium, Selenium and Cadmium.
    • Ten minerals on the list are 100 per cent import-dependent. These are lithium cobalt, nickel, vanadium, niobium, germanium, rhenium, beryllium, tantalum, and strontium.
  • Adding to this proposed plan, Centre will periodically update the list of critical minerals for India and notify the critical mineral strategy from time to time and will execute a range of functions for the development of an effective value chain of critical minerals in the country.
  • Need of such a move:
    • India’s international commitments towards reducing carbon emissions, which require the country to urgently relook at its mineral requirements for energy transition and net-zero commitments.
    • Critical Minerals forms part of multiple strategic value chains, including clean technologies initiatives such as zero-emission vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels; information and communication technologies, including semiconductors; and advanced manufacturing inputs and materials such as defence applications, permanent magnets, and ceramics.
What are Critical Minerals?
  • Critical minerals are elements that are the building blocks of essential modern-day technologies, and are at risk of supply chain disruptions.
  • These minerals are now used everywhere from making mobile phones, computers to batteries, electric vehicles and green technologies like solar panels and wind turbines.
  • Based on their individual needs and strategic considerations, different countries create their own lists.
  • The identification of critical minerals will help the country to plan for the acquisition and preservation of such mineral assets taking into account the long term need of the country.
  • Also it will make to reduce the import dependency as India is 100% import dependent for certain elements.
India’s exploration Update:
  • The Geological Survey of India, an attached office of Ministry of Mines, has carried out a G3 stage mineral exploration (fairly advanced) in Salal-Haimna areas of Reasi district, Jammu & Kashmir, and estimated an inferred resource of 5.9 million tonnes of lithium ore.
  • Lithium reserves were also discovered on Revant hill in Degana in Rajasthan’s Nagaur district by the GSI. It is believed that these reserves can meet 80% of the country’s demand.
Critical Minerals in major economies:
  • The US has declared 50 minerals critical in light of their role in national security or economic development.
  • The UK considers 18 minerals critical, the European Union has declared 34 minerals critical, and Canada and Japan 31 each.
  • Australia has 26 critical minerals.
    • India-Australia Critical Minerals Investment Partnership: India and Australia recently decided to strengthen their partnership in the field of projects and supply chains for critical minerals. Australia will commit 5.8 million dollars to the three-year India-Australia Critical Minerals Investment Partnership.

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