Government set to auction 20 critical mineral blocks in next two weeks

The government will invite bids for 20 critical mineral blocks in next two weeks, according to a top official. The 20 critical blocks include lithium and graphite mines, Mines Secretary V L Kantha Rao has said. 

“After making the policy on critical minerals, the next step is the auctioning of critical mineral blocks.... Now we are almost ready to issue the auction notice, and in two weeks’ time, we will be issuing an auction notice for auctioning about 20 blocks that are related to critical minerals like lithium and graphite,” the secretary has added. 

According to Mr Rao, there are 10 to 12 players in the country who have the technology to produce and process critical minerals. 

After the auction notice, a workshop will be organised in which all the stakeholders will be brought together and a national-level strategy on mining and processing of critical minerals will be made. 

Last month, the Centre had approved royalty rates of 3 per cent each for lithium and niobium and 1 per cent for rare earth elements (REEs). 

Critical minerals have become important for the nation’s economic development and national security. 

Lithium and REEs have gained significance, keeping in mind the country’s commitment towards energy transition and achieving net-zero emission by 2070. 

The Centre had earlier said that it was working to launch the first round of the auction of critical and strategic minerals such as lithium, REEs, nickel, platinum group of elements, potash, glauconite, phosphorite, graphite and molybdenum shortly.

Report By