India’s Mines Ministry Explores Lithium Opportunities in Chile Following Argentina Deal

Building on the momentum of a recent development and exploration agreement with Argentina’s CAMYEN for lithium sourcing, India’s Mines Ministry is now setting its sights on Chile, aiming to capitalize on similar acquisition opportunities. This strategic move aligns with India’s broader agenda to secure a steady supply of lithium, a critical component for electric vehicles, battery production, and other energy storage solutions.

Following the signing of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with Chilean state-run company ENAMI, the Mines Ministry is progressing toward conducting due diligence for lithium blocks in Chile. Discussions are underway, and a team of officials will soon visit Chile to explore potential acquisition opportunities, particularly focusing on brine-based lithium resources.

KABIL (Khanij Bidesh India Ltd), a joint venture of NALCO, Hindustan Copper, and MECL, is actively leading India’s efforts to secure critical mineral supplies from overseas. The team from KABIL will be instrumental in conducting technical due diligence for identified brine-type lithium blocks of ENAMI during their visit to Chile.

Chile, along with Argentina and Bolivia, forms the renowned Lithium Triangle, contributing significantly to global lithium resources. The acquisition focus on brine-based lithium blocks underscores the Mines Ministry’s commitment to diversify and strengthen India’s lithium supply chain.

The Mines Ministry and KABIL are not limiting their exploration efforts to South America. They are actively considering opportunities in other potential countries across Africa and other continents. Leveraging international collaboration and partnerships, such as the Mineral Security Partnership (MSP), the Government of India aims to secure a stable and diverse supply of lithium, often referred to as ‘white gold.’

Lithium, a vital alkaline material, plays a pivotal role in India’s transition to sustainable energy sources, reduction in carbon footprint, and the growth of the electric vehicle sector. Currently, India heavily relies on imports, primarily from China, to meet its lithium requirements. The ongoing auctions for lithium blocks in Jammu and Chhattisgarh reflect India’s commitment to boosting domestic lithium production.

In a significant development earlier this month, India secured its first-ever lithium blocks in Argentina, with an investment of around ₹200 crore through KABIL for exploration and development. The agreement grants commercial production rights to the state-owned entity in the event of mineral discovery, marking a strategic milestone in India’s pursuit of lithium resources.

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