India Seals Green Future Deal with Argentina

On 15 January 2024, the Government of India announced that it is entering into an agreement with the Government of Argentina for developing lithium mines. The metal is deemed to be key for #decarbonization drive and one of the #CriticalMinerals for a #GreenFuture and successful #EnergyTranstion.

In particular, India SEO Khanji Bidesh India Limited (KABIL) signed a partnership agreement with Argentinian SEO Catamarca Minera Y Energetica Sociedad Del Estado (CAMYEN). A virtual signing ceremony took place with Union Minister of Mines, Pralhad Joshi as witness for the Indian side.

“The project will help India strengthen lithium supplies, while developing lithium mining and downstream sectors of both the countries.”

Indian Union Minister of Mines Pralhad Joshi

The agreement covers five lithium blocks in the Catamarca province of Argentina with a combined area of more than 15,000 hectares. According to the Agreement, KABIL plans to invest up to INR 2 billion (USD 24 million) into prospecting these lithium mining assets.

Argentina is believed to have the world’s 2nd largest reserves of Lithium behind Bolivia on top and Chile in third position. The lithium-rich region lies at the convergence of these three countries and is sometimes referred to as the ‘White Gold or Lithium Triangle.’ In addition, the lithium exists in salt flats on the surface, thus making mining costs relatively less costly compared to rock minerals which need to be extracted from underground.

Currently, India imports 70% of its lithium from China. The Argentinian deal and others around the world will assist in reducing dependence on a single supplier and mitigate risks via a diversified supply chain.

In 2023, India joined the Minerals Security Partnership (#MSP) which is a united front to chip away at the dominance of China in the mining and processing of #CriticalMinerals. Furthermore, India is said to be pursuing Lithium mines in Australia and Africa as well.

India is also in talks with Bolivia to acquire Lithium mining assets and pursuing Cobalt mines in Australia. On the other hand, China has already acquired several Lithium mining assets withing the so-called Lithium Triangle and is also a top investor in Lithium mining in Zimbabwe. Additionally, China is also deeply invested in Cobalt mining in DR Congo.