India’s Lithium Exploration dreams has scaled a new high today. The Ministry of Mines, Government of India, has achieved a significant milestone with the signing of an agreement between Khanij Bidesh India Limited (KABIL) and the state-owned enterprise of Catamarca province of Argentina, CATAMARCA MINERA Y ENERGÉTICA SOCIEDAD DEL ESTADO (CAMYEN SE), at Catamarca, Argentina on January 15, 2024.
The agreement was signed in the presence of Governor of Catamarca Lic. Raul Jalil, Vice Governor of Catamarca, Eng. Ruben Dusso, Minister of Mines Catamarca, H. E. Marcelo Murua, and Ambassador of India to Argentina, H. E. Dinesh Bhatia. The signing ceremony was virtually attended by the Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mines, Government of India, H. E. Shri Pralhad Joshi, and Secretary, Ministry of Mines, Government of India, Shri V. L. Kantha Rao.
This is the first-ever lithium exploration and mining project by a government company of India. KABIL will start exploration and development of 5 lithium brine blocks covering an area of about 15,703 hectares, located in the Catamarca province of Argentina. KABIL is also preparing to set up a branch office at Catamarca, Argentina. The project cost is about 200 crores.
KABIL obtains Exclusivity right to 5 Blocks for Lithium Exploration
With this agreement, KABIL has obtained Exploration and Exclusivity Right for 5 blocks to evaluate, prospect, and explore and subsequent to existence/discovery of lithium mineral, exploitation right for commercial production. This will not only boost its quest for sourcing lithium for India but will also help in bringing in technical and operational experience for Brine type lithium exploration, exploitation, and extraction.
Argentina is part of the “Lithium Triangle” along with Chile and Bolivia, with more than half of the world’s total lithium resources and having the distinction of having the 2nd largest lithium resources, 3rd largest lithium reserves, and 4th largest production in the world.
The move is a historic day for both India and Argentina as it scripts a new chapter in bilateral ties with the agreement signing between KABIL and CAMYEN. This step will not only play a crucial role in driving the energy transition for a sustainable future but also ensure a resilient and diversified supply chain for critical and strategic minerals essential for various industries in India. Speaking on the occasion, Shri Pralhad Joshi said, “This strategic move not only strengthens the bilateral ties between India and Argentina but also contributes to the sustainable development of the mining sector, ensuring a resilient and diversified supply chain for critical and strategic minerals essential for various industries.”
The signing of this agreement is a significant foray into Argentina’s rich lithium reserves, and the Ministry of Mines has announced a ₹200 crore investment for lithium.