India launches second part of critical minerals auction worth $362 billion

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India launched the second part of its critical minerals auction worth an estimated 30 trillion rupees (about $362 billion), the country’s mines minister, Pralhad Joshi, said on Thursday.

A total of 18 critical mineral blocks, including tungsten, vanadium, cobalt and nickel, will be auctioned in eight states across the country, including Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, a government statement said.

Seventeen mineral blocks have been put up for a composite licence, while one block is for a mining lease, it added. A composite licence includes a licence to examine a block and mine it afterwards.

Joshi added that five states – Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan – will auction blocks for exploration licence of critical minerals, separately.

Further, he said that in the first round of the first part of auctions launched in November last year, the government received 56 bids from entities, including Vedanta Ltd, Coal India, Shree Cement, Ola Electric, Dalmia group and Jindal Power.

The second round of bidding for the first tranche of auctions will be held in mid-March and the bid winner will be announced in mid-April.

Separately, Joshi said there will be no shortage of coal in the country this year.

His comments come after the Coal India, the world’s largest miner, lowered its annual production target for the financial year 2025 on adequate stockpiles, last week.

($1 = 82.8859 Indian rupees)

(By Neha Arora and Hritam Mukherjee; Editing by Tasim Zahid and Sohini Goswami)

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