As India looks to prepare for the electric vehicle boom, a joint venture of three state-run companies to hunt for minerals like lithium and cobalt overseas will become operational this financial year.
“The mandate of this is to source and acquire strategic minerals like lithium and cobalt abroad,” Anil Kumar Nayak, joint secretary at the Ministry of Mines, said on the sidelines of an event in New Delhi today. “We are deficient in lithium and cobalt that are required for electric vehicles for which we have ambitious projects in the coming years.”
Hindustan Copper Ltd., Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd. and National Aluminium Corporation Ltd. had in September 2017 agreed to set up a joint venture named Khanij Bidesh India Ltd., or KABIL.
India aims to turn 30 percent of the vehicles battery-powered by 2030 as the Asia’s third-largest economy looks to curb oil imports and push for cleaner transport. But nearly 80 percent of the world’s resources of lithium—an essential element in rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles—are locked up in just nine deposits in the Andes, the U.S., China and the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a 2011 study.
“The joint venture will acquire assets abroad and do mining in collaboration with those countries,” Nayak said. The government is also looking at a possibility of inviting domestic and overseas private players to collaborate with the joint venture, he said.