Govt sets ball rolling for e-auction of 7 critical mineral blocks

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New Delhi, March 30 (IANS) The Ministry of Mines has fixed May 16 as the last date for the sale of tender documents to bid in the e-auction for seven critical mineral blocks under the tranche III round. The deadline for the submission of the documents is May 21.

The Ministry has clarified that the seven blocks form part of the 11 blocks the auction for which was earlier annulled as there were less than three Technically Qualified Bidders (TQB) for them.

In addition, the e-auction process under tranche II for 18 blocks is also ongoing. The last date for the sale of the Tender Document is May 10, 2024, and the last date for submission of the bid is May 15.

The ministry also said that the second round of e-auctions for six blocks has been completed as per schedule, and the decision on the Kundol Nickel and Chromium Block of Gujurat, will be taken by the designated officer in due course of time.

Critical minerals such as lithium, chromium, nickel, graphite, cobalt, titanium and rare earth elements (REE) are essential for India’s economic development and national security. Currently, the extraction of these minerals is dominated by a few countries such as China which makes the supply chain vulnerable to geopolitical uncertainties.

Critical minerals cater to the needs of sectors like electronics, electric vehicles, renewable energy, defence, high-tech telecommunications, agriculture, pharmaceutical and the creation of gigafactories. These minerals are in high demand which is met mainly by imports.

The future global economy will be underpinned by technologies that depend on these critical minerals, and India has committed to achieve 50 per cent of cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil sources by 2030.

The ambitious plans for energy transition are 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.



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