Mine over matter: Who will dig up India's new-found Lithium reserve?

The absence of an integrated mining policy for strategic metals and minerals and poor domestic capabilities could hinder exploitation of the recently discovered reserves

Subhomoy Bhattacharjee New Delhi
Lithium reserves

Having found a massive lithium reserve, the government has a fresh problem. Who will mine the reserves? At one level, the answer appears straightforward. India allows 100 per cent foreign investment in the mining sector, so it should be possible for an Indian company to tie up with a foreign company or the latter going solo to mine it. But this exercise is more difficult than it appears even after an expected tweak in the mining law. Faced with one setback after another in expanding the scope of mining in the country, almost all the major miners of the world have wound down their operations in India. Except Vedanta, which, too, is mired in more than one controversy. The others have representative offices but no mining operations. Rio Tinto, for instance, which had discovered large diamond nodes in Madhya Pradesh, had to withdraw due to strident opposition from civil society. The objection was that the mining, even if underground, will destroy large tracts of forest land. /

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First Published: Feb 16 2023 | 5:55 PM IST

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