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Possible inclusion of critical mineral imports and mine acquisitions in India – Chile FTA talks

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In Short:

India’s Mines Ministry is discussing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Chile, focusing on securing critical minerals like copper and lithium. Both countries currently have a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA). Indian officials visited Chile to explore economic cooperation, including partnerships for critical minerals. India recently acquired lithium blocks in Argentina and is looking to do the same in Chile through government-to-government agreements. The Ministry also has plans for critical mineral auctions and offshore mineral blocks.

Hey folks, exciting news coming your way from India’s Mines Ministry! They are all set to dive deep into discussions about the India – Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and guess what they’re focusing on? Securing critical minerals like **copper** and **lithium** mines, along with some fantastic commercial off-take agreements at G2G (that’s government -to- government) levels. How cool is that!

Exploring New Avenues

A recent delegation made up of industry and government officials jetted off to Chile to explore the potential for a larger economic cooperation. They’re looking at forming some strong partnerships when it comes to critical minerals. Exciting times ahead!

G2G Agreements

The Mines Ministry of India has taken a big step by sealing a non-disclosure agreement with ENAMI, the state-owned company in Chile. This paves the way for sharing of information and data between the two countries. The aim is to work on G2G agreements for exploration, acquisition of mineral blocks, and potential off-take of these critical minerals. A win-win situation, right?

Earlier this year, India made its debut in acquiring **lithium** blocks overseas in Argentina. A huge milestone where five blocks were grabbed through KABIL, a joint venture of NALCO, Hindustan Copper, and MECL. A whopping ₹200 crore is ready to be poured into exploration activities over five years. Exciting times ahead!

Lithium Triangle

Chile, along with two other Latin American nations – Argentina and Bolivia, together forms the Lithium Triangle, holding the majority of the world’s lithium resources. Aptly called white gold, this mineral plays a crucial role in powering EVs, mobile phones, cars, and energy storage solutions. It’s all part of India’s green energy journey. Let’s go green!

And let’s not forget **copper**! Another critical mineral that’s in the spotlight. Widely used in power cables, wind turbines, electric vehicles, and solar panels. The demand and price of copper is a key indicator of economic health. Fascinating, right?

The Ministry is all geared up for their 100-day action plan. The top priority involves conducting the fourth tranche of critical mineral auctions covering 20 blocks. Keep an eye out as auctions are set to be announced by the end of June. Also in the pipeline is the unveiling of rules and auctions for India’s first offshore mineral blocks. The auctions covering construction sand, lime-mud, and more are expected around June-July.

Exciting times ahead as the Ministry is also gearing up to announce the winners for the first tranche of critical mineral auctions. Stay tuned as mineral blocks relating to fertiliser minerals have attracted multiple bids and are heading into the second round. Let the games begin!

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