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NITI Aayog to visit Lithium Triangle nations in South America

Huma Siddiqui
NITI Aayog, Lithium Triangle, Lithium Triangle countries, Chile, Bolivia, Khanij Bidesh India Ltd, MECL, NALCO, HCL

Close on the high-level visits to the ‘Lithium Triangle’ countries including Chile and Bolivia, a high-level delegation from Niti Ayog is expected to visit these countries soon. The team will take the discussions forward from where the Khanij Bidesh India Ltd. had left earlier this year.

According to diplomatic sources The Niti Ayog delegation s visit to the Lithium Triangle countries is a follow up visit of the KABIL. Dates are in the process of being worked out.

Three government owned companies – National Aluminum Company (NALCO), Hindustan Copper (HCL) and Mineral Exploration Corp Ltd. (MECL) form the consortium and together they had had visited Argentina, Bolivia and Chile between February-March in an effort to identify opportunities for Lithium exploration.

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The requirement of this strategic mineral is important for India as it is in the midst of setting-up large lithium-ion battery plants, to achieve all-electric vehicles by 2030. The country also needs these Lithium batteries for solar panels as well as to meeting the growing need in the Space sector. And to meet India s ambitions of achieving energy security.

The KABIL has been formed under the directive of Ministry of Mines, whose focus is to seek strategic minerals overseas and to facilitate the process of acquisition, development and processing the same.

At the end of talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Argentina President Mauricio Marci this year, the two sides had acknowledged the immense potential for bilateral cooperation in the mining sector. According a joint statement released at the end of the visit, Argentina has agreed to extend full cooperation in sharing the geological information for Lithium exploration available with their mining agencies.

As was first reported by the Financial Express Online, President Ramnath Kovind and Bolivian President Evo Morales had talked about three critical aspects of Lithium. This included exploration, assured supplies of Lithium Carbide and a joint venture for Lithium battery production plants in India.

The landlocked country Bolivia is seeking Indian investments to develop its Lithium deposits, which account for 60% of the world s reserves.

Presently, 100% of Li-ion batteries or cells are imported in India, as these which have a high energy density are in huge demand for portable electronic devices, solar power plants as well as electric vehicles.

Experts have urged the government to set up R&D and Technology Development Facilities where the Lithium-ION batteries can be made indigenously.

According to a study on Lithium Market in Chile available on the Embassy of India s website in Chile: several Indian companies including a Chennai based company Munoth Industries Limited (MIL) is in the process of setting-up the India s first Lithium Batteries cell for Mobile phone. Also, in the automobile sector, Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) has tied up with Toshiba and Denso has decided to set up the India s first lithium-ion battery manufacturing facility in Gujarat. Mahindra & Mahindra has forged an alliance with South Korea s LG Chem to make lithium-ion batteries in India.