India-Australia Critical Minerals Investment Partnership- UPSC Current Affairs

India-Australia Critical Minerals Investment Partnership

Read our today’s edition of Current Affairs wherein we will talk about India-Australia Investment Partnership in detail. The topic’s relevance to the UPSC CSE syllabus is listed below:

For Prelims: Critical Minerals, Electric Vehicles,  Silicon, KABIL Initiative

For Mains: Critical Minerals, Electric Vehicles,  KABIL Initiative

Also read our yesterday’s edition of Current Affairs on Why are Electric Vehicles Catching Fire in India? and enhance your UPSC preparation.

Context

India and Australia had decided to strengthen their partnership in the field of projects and supply chains for critical minerals.

Probable Question

What are Critical Minerals? Briefly discuss availability, applications and significance of the Critical Minerals.

About Critical Minerals

  • Critical minerals are elements that are the building blocks of essential modern-day technologies which are at risk of supply chain disruptions.
  • Examples of critical minerals: Graphite, lithium, rare earth, silicon, cobalt, etc.

Usage of Critical Minerals

  • To make mobile phones, computers, batteries (EV batteries), electric vehicles, and green technologies like solar panels and wind turbines.
  • Rare earthminerals are used for making magnets and silicon which then can be used for making computer chips and solar panels.
  • Aerospace, communications, and defense industries used such minerals in  manufacturing fighter jets, drones, radio sets, and other critical equipment.

Significance of Critical Minerals

  • Its increased demand globally shows that the world is shifting gradually from a fossil fuel-intensive to a mineral-intensive energy system.
  • Critical Mineral helps countries to scale up their transition towards clean energy and digital economy.
  • In India, these critical resources benefit space and defense industries in particular.
  • For Australia, these resources would help in advancing critical minerals projects while diversifying global supply chains.

Risks

  • Critical resources can cause risk to a nation’s economies due to – rare availability, growing demand, and complex processing value chain due to hostile regimes, or politically unstable regions.
  • It can also cause national and economic security threats due to over-reliance on “foreign sources and adversarial nations for critical minerals”.

KABIL Initiative on Critical Minerals

  • KABIL stands for Khanij Bidesh India Limited.
  • The Ministry of Mines has set up KABIL.
  • It is basically a joint venture of three public sector companies – National Aluminium Company Ltd.(NALCO), Hindustan Copper Ltd.(HCL), and Mineral Exploration Company Ltd. (MECL).
  • It aims to ensure secure mineral supply in-country and to realize the objective of import substitution.
  • It also aims to carry out the identification, acquisition, exploration, development, mining, and processing of strategic minerals, within the country and overseas for commercial use.

Race for Critical Minerals

  • China is the world’s largest producer of 16 critical minerals that amounts to 60-70% of the global production of cobalt, 90% for rare earth elements, 35% for nickel, and 50-70% for lithium.
  • The UK has recently unveiled its new Critical Minerals Intelligence Center to study the future demand for and supply of these critical minerals.
  • Countries like the US, Canada, and Australia had launched an interactive map of critical mineral deposits with an aim to identify options to diversify the sources of their critical minerals.

News Source: The Indian Express

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