Govt Mulls Law To Privatise Lithium Mining For Battery Production

Govt Mulls Law To Privatise Lithium Mining For Battery Production

The Union Government may introduce a change in the law to permit private miners extraction of Lithium, a crucial component of batteries used in electric vehicles, without which, energy independence in green technologies is difficult to achieve.

It is being said that the Modi government aims to change current laws during the current session of Parliament. The proposed law might effectively eliminate eight minerals from the restricted list forbidding the production by private enterprises, including lithium, beryllium, and zirconium. Unless a law is tweaked, the government cannot auction the licences to explore lithium reserves.

The proposed tweak in the law is primarily driven by the policy of the government to reduce India’s dependence on imports for some key minerals and put the country in the big league of lucrative battery supply chain. The country also seeks to expand domestic production of a variety of zero-emission technologies in order to meet its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2070 and to benefit from opportunities presented by the world’s transition to cleaner energy.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has reiterated the commitment to 500 GW clean energy capacity by 2030. Besides, massive amounts of battery storage must be deployed in order to make renewable energy accessible to all. Hence, the extraction of crucial minerals is the need of hour.

A report has quoted the officials of Ministry of Mines as saying that they have recently stumbled upon a modest mine of Lithium in Karnataka. This, however, is not enough to neutralise the imports. China retains the position of the top refiner in the world, while Australia and Chile are a predominant supplier of t raw materials.
As per the data from the trade ministry, India’s imports of lithium-ion batteries increased by 54 % from a year earlier to $1.83 billion till March this year. Even though India has ramped up efforts to steer clear of imports from its northern neighbour, China and Hong Kong in unison accounted for more than 87 % of the purchases.

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