India eyes Chilean lithium, copper

India is planning to send two delegations to Chile next month to explore lithium and copper resources, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing an anonymous government source as saying.

Chile, being the world’s largest copper supplier and the second-largest lithium producer, is a significant target for India’s overseas mineral asset exploration.

State firms, including National Aluminium Company, Hindustan Copper, and Mineral Exploration and Consultancy, have established a company named Khanij Bidesh India (KABIL) for this purpose.

KABIL is set to dispatch a delegation to Chile in April with the aim of acquiring assets to facilitate both private and government-owned companies.

Simultaneously, KABIL is in discussions with the Australian government to appoint a consultant to restart due diligence for a potential lithium block acquisition in the country.

India is also considering Africa as a source of copper, cobalt, and other critical minerals, as stated by V.L. Kantha Rao, the top official at the Ministry of Mines.

India, currently the world’s third-largest greenhouse gas emitter, has committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2070 and increasing its renewable energy mix to 50 per cent by 2030.

The country is in the process of auctioning 38 blocks of critical and strategic minerals, including lithium.

Earlier this year, KABIL signed a 2-billion-rupee ($24.01 million) lithium exploration agreement for five blocks in Argentina, granting KABIL the rights for commercial production.

As KABIL sets up an office in Argentina, it continues negotiations with another company in the country for lithium exploration.

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