The government today announced the setting up of a joint venture company for strategic minerals, called Khanij Bidesh India Ltd (KABIL), as a joint venture of three central public sector enterprises – National Aluminum Company Ltd (Nalco), Hindustan Copper Ltd (HCL) and Mineral Exploration Company Ltd (MECL).
Announcing this at a function to sign the joint venture agreement, minister of coal, mines and parliamentary affairs Pralhad Joshi said KABIL will ensure a consistent supply of critical and strategic minerals to Indian domestic market. While KABIL would ensure mineral security of the nation, it would also help in realizing the overall objective of import substitution, he said.
The sustained supply of strategic minerals and metals is imperative for the transportation and manufacturing segment. Recalling the commitment at the UN Climate Change Conference, Pairs 2015, where India has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and opting for a greener mode of transportation, the minister said the prime minister has been emphasizing on electric mobility.
For sustaining electric mobility, he said, supply of minerals like lithium is important to ensure energy storage through batteries.
Further, segments like aviation, defense and space research also require minerals with lower weight and high mechanical strength. Among such twelve minerals identified as strategic minerals, which have meagre resource base, lithium and cobalt are significant, the minister pointed out.
KABIL would carry out identification, acquisition, exploration, development, mining and processing of strategic minerals overseas for commercial use and meeting the country’s requirement of these minerals. The sourcing of these minerals and metals will be done by creating trading opportunities, G2G collaborations with the producing countries or strategic acquisitions or investments in the exploration and mining assets of these minerals in the source countries.
The new company will help in building partnerships with other mineral rich countries like Australia and those in Africa and South America, where Indian expertise in exploration and mineral processing will be mutually beneficial bringing about new economic opportunities.
Nalco, HCL and MECL have equity participation in the ratio of 40:30:30 in the new company.