1. Home
  2. Blog
  3. UPSC

Critical Minerals Summit


Why is it in the news?

  • The ‘Critical Minerals Summit: Enhancing Beneficiation and Processing Capabilities’ concluded in New Delhi.

More about the news

  • The summit was organized jointly by the Ministry of Mines, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation (Shakti), Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), and International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), demonstrating a multi-stakeholder approach to addressing critical mineral challenges.
  • The primary objective of the summit was to equip government and industry stakeholders with the necessary knowledge, connections, and tools to accelerate the domestic production of Critical Minerals, directly supporting India’s economic growth agenda.

About Critical Minerals

  • Critical minerals are essential for economic development and national security due to their vital role in various industries, including defence, electronics, and renewable energy.
  • The lack of availability or concentration of extraction and processing of critical minerals in a few geographical locations can lead to supply chain vulnerabilities and disruptions, affecting industries reliant on these minerals.
  • The Government of India has identified 30 critical minerals, including Antimony, Beryllium, Cobalt, Lithium, Nickel, Rare Earth Elements (REE), Tantalum, Titanium, and others, which are crucial for the country’s economic growth and security.
  • The Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act, 1957 (MMDR Act, 1957) was amended through the MMDR Amendment Act, 2023 which inserted 24 critical and strategic minerals into Part D of Schedule-I, recognizing them as critical and strategic minerals for the country’s development.
  • The inclusion of critical and strategic minerals in the MMDR Act ensures focused attention on their exploration, extraction, and processing, facilitating their sustainable development to meet the country’s growing needs and mitigate supply chain risks.

Transformative Role of Critical Minerals

  • Critical minerals serve as the foundation upon which modern technology is built, playing a crucial role in advancing various sectors such as high-tech electronics, telecommunications, transport, and defense.
  • From solar panels to wind turbines, critical minerals are essential for renewable energy technologies and the global transition to a low-emission economy, supporting countries’ ‘Net Zero’ commitments.
  • The demand for critical minerals is global, as they are necessary for the production of essential products like semiconductors and advanced batteries, driving innovation and economic growth worldwide.

Challenges in Critical Mineral Supply Chains

  • Price Volatility and Supply Disruptions: Global market dynamics can lead to price volatility and supply disruptions in critical mineral supply chains, posing challenges for industries reliant on these minerals.
  • Technical and Environmental Challenges: Technical difficulties in mineral extraction and associated social and environmental impacts can amplify supply risks, requiring sustainable and responsible mining practices.
  • Resilience Challenges for India: India faces both global and domestic challenges in assuring resilient critical mineral supply chains, necessitating strategic planning and investment in mineral exploration and processing capabilities.
  • Strategic partnerships between China and Russia can impact critical mineral supply chains, potentially affecting global market dynamics and creating challenges for countries reliant on these minerals for their industrial and technological advancement.

Steps Taken to Address Critical Mineral Challenges

  • S&T-PRISM Grants: The Ministry provides grants under the Science and Technology Programme to promote research and innovation in startups and MSMEs in the mining, mineral processing, metallurgy, and recycling sectors, with a specific focus on the extraction of strategic and critical minerals at the elemental level.
  • Multilateral and Bilateral Partnerships: The Ministry actively engages in multilateral and bilateral partnerships with various countries to secure India’s critical mineral demand, recognizing the importance of global cooperation in ensuring a stable supply of critical minerals.
  • Inclusion in G20 Agenda: Under India’s G20 presidency, the Ministry successfully advocated for the inclusion of critical minerals in the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration, highlighting their significance in the global energy transition and underscoring India’s commitment to addressing critical mineral challenges on the international stage.
  • Membership in Mineral Security Partnership (MSP): India became the 14th member of the Mineral Security Partnership (MSP) in June 2023, joining countries like the United States, Australia, and European nations. The MSP aims to strengthen critical mineral supply chains to support economic prosperity and climate objectives by catalyzing investments across the full value chain from production to recycling.
  • Focus on Full Value Chain: The Ministry aims to ensure that critical minerals are produced, processed, and recycled by catalyzing investments from governments and the private sector across the full value chain, emphasizing the importance of sustainable and responsible mineral management practices.

Conclusion

  • Critical minerals are crucial for sustainable economic growth, green technologies, and national defense, highlighting their strategic significance for India’s development and security.
  • It is imperative to identify and develop value chains for critical minerals to reduce dependency on imports, enhance self-reliance, and foster resilience in key sectors of the economy.
  • Active participation in bilateral and plurilateral arrangements is essential to build assured and resilient critical mineral supply chains, fostering partnerships with resource-rich countries and international organizations to secure India’s critical mineral demand.

Get free UPSC Updates straight to your inbox!

Get Updates on New Notification about APPSC, TSPSC and UPSC

Get Current Affairs Updates Directly into your Inbox

Discover more from AMIGOS IAS

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading