Govt to launch 1st tranche of auction of critical minerals blocks on Nov 29

Twenty blocks of critical and strategic minerals being auctioned are spread across the country, said the Ministry of Mines
Govt to launch 1st tranche of auction of critical minerals blocks on Nov 29
Govt to launch 1st tranche of auction of critical minerals blocks on Nov 29Energy Watch

New Delhi: The Ministry of Mines will be launching the first tranche auction of critical and strategic minerals here on November 29, said an official statement on Tuesday. Union Minister for Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi will be the chief guest and will launch the 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,” said the Ministry of Mines.

‘Critical minerals essential for economic development, national security’

Critical minerals are essential for our country’s economic development and national security. The lack of availability of these minerals or the 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 achieving 50 percent of cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil sources by 2030. Such an 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,” said the Ministry of Mines.

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.

24 minerals notified as critical minerals

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 the Central Government so that the Central Government can prioritise the 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 rationalised to encourage more participation in auctions. The government had specified royalty rates for Platinum Group of Metals (PGM) at 4 percent, Molybdenum at 7.5 percent, Glauconite and Potash at 2.5 percent in March 2022. On October 12, 2023 the government has specified royalty rates for Lithium at 3 percent, Niobium at 3 percent and Rare Earth Elements at 1 percent.

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Critical mineral block auction: Sale of tender doc to start from Nov 29

The commencement of the sale of the tender document shall start from November 29. 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 November 29. 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 the mineral despatched quoted by them.

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