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Business News/ Companies / News/  J&K govt may hire SBI Cap to advise on lithium auction
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J&K govt may hire SBI Cap to advise on lithium auction

India has found lithium reserves for the first time and emerged as the 7th-largest holder of the earth mineral

India needs lithium to fuel its energy transition target. (Photo: AFP)Premium
India needs lithium to fuel its energy transition target. (Photo: AFP)

New Delhi: The Jammu and Kashmir Administration has put in motion the process of auctioning lithium mines and may hire SBI Capital Markets Ltd as an advisor to the process by early next week. Besides the authorities are also exploring areas beyond the current site for these rare earth minerals.

“We should be hiring SBI Caps as the transaction advisor within the next few days. The commercial auction of the rare earth minerals is a priority, as we would like to start mining as early as possible," said a senior officer in the J&K administration, seeking anonymity.

As part of the auction plan, mining rights will be given for one mine to the winning bidder to extract lithium as well as provide a concessionaire right to extract other minerals such as bauxite and limestone. Processing of minerals is likely to be restricted only for domestic consumption by user industries.

In February, Geological Survey of India (GSI), found significant lithium reserves of 5.9 million tonne in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir. The government plans to auction the mines by June and is on track to meet the deadline, the official said.

India needs lithium to fuel its energy transition target, as it is a key component to manufacture rechargeable lithium-ion batteries used in electric-vehicles as well as large-scale battery storage.

India has set an ambitious target of achieving 30% electric vehicle (EV) adoption for private cars, 70% for commercial vehicles, and 80% for two- and three-wheelers by 2030.

This is the first time, India has found lithium reserves and emerged as the seventh-largest holder of the earth mineral. It also imports lithium from Hong Kong, China and the US.

So far, India does not have a lithium refining unit. The winning bidder will also have to set up a local processing plant.

China controls 75% of the world’s lithium refining capacity.

GSI, a consortium of National Aluminium Co., Hindustan Copper and Mineral Exploration Corp. is working on setting up an entity which will help research and development activities for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries, recycling and acquisition.

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Updated: 10 Apr 2023, 06:08 AM IST
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