Government set to launch first-ever auction of critical mineral blocks

The auction will be conducted online through a two-stage ascending forward auction process, with eligible bidders selected based on the highest percentage of the value of mineral dispatch quoted by them.

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 28 Nov 2023 Views icon1793 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Government set to launch first-ever auction of critical mineral blocks

The Ministry of Mines is scheduled to initiate the inaugural tranche auction of critical and strategic minerals on November 29, 2023. Pralhad Joshi, the Union Minister of Coal, Mines, and Parliamentary Affairs, will inaugurate the auctioning process for 20 blocks of critical and strategic minerals, as announced by the ministry in a statement.

Details regarding the mineral blocks, auction terms, and timelines will be disclosed on the auction platform of MSTC—an esteemed Mini Ratna Category-I Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the administrative control of the Ministry of Steel—at 6 pm on November 29, 2023.

The auction will be conducted online through a two-stage ascending forward auction process, with eligible bidders selected based on the highest percentage of the value of mineral dispatch quoted by them.

Recognizing the potential supply chain vulnerabilities stemming from the limited availability or concentration of extraction and processing of these minerals in a few countries, the ministry emphasized that this initiative is a significant step that will fortify the economy, bolster national security, and facilitate the transition to a clean energy future.

The Union government had unveiled its first critical minerals list on June 28, identifying 30 key critical minerals crucial for the nation's economic growth and technological development. Currently, the demand for critical minerals is primarily met through imports.

Royalty rates for various minerals were specified by the government in March 2022 and October 12, 2023, to encourage domestic production. These minerals, including Platinum Group of Metals (PGM), Molybdenum, Glauconite, Potash, Lithium, Niobium, and Rare Earth Elements (REE), are expected to be part of the auction.

The future global economy is expected to rely on technologies dependent 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, driving the demand for electric cars, wind and solar energy projects, and battery storage systems, consequently increasing the demand for these critical minerals. These minerals play a crucial role in various sectors, including renewable energy, defense, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, high-tech electronics, telecommunications, transport, and the establishment of gigafactories.

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