News Report

Union Okays Commercial Mining of Lithium And Critical Minerals

The Union Cabinet has allowed the commercial mining of lithium and other minerals which includes beryllium, titanium, niobium, tantalum and zirconium. This comes after the cabinet cleared amendments to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act. This is the fifth time that the MMDR Act, 1957, will be amended. At the moment private companies are not allowed to mine these minerals. Currently, the MMDR Act grants private companies a mining lease and a composite licence through an auction. According to The Hindu Business Line, all these mineral blocks will be auctioned. According to The Print report, once Parliament clears the amendments, the government will be able to grant a single exploration licence to companies through such auctions. According to a source of The Print, a single exploration licence will encourage more private investment in the sector, where currently private presence is limited. Currently, the government is giving composite licences in a smaller area (up to 25 square kilometres). But, according to the amendment the government will be giving an exploration licence for larger areas up to 5,000 sq km of a single block. Earlier this year, India’s very first substantial lithium deposits were discovered in Jammu & Kashmir amounting to 5.9 million tonnes. India is currently dependent on China and other countries to fulfill its requirement of critical minerals, including the rare earth elements.

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