Australia will invest AUD5.8m (USD3.98m) in a three-year partnership with India to develop critical metals such as lithium and cobalt for electric vehicles (EVs), as reported by Reuters on July 4. The Critical Minerals Facilitation Office of Australia (CMFO) negotiated an agreement with India’s critical minerals business Khanij Bidesh India as part of the partnership (KABIL), in which KABIL and CMFO will initially spend USD6m to study Australia’s lithium and cobalt mineral assets and identify prospective projects.
Prices for lithium, a critical raw ingredient used in EV batteries, have skyrocketed in recent times due to a massive boom in the demand for EVs. To assure the supply of critical minerals including lithium and cobalt in India, KABIL was established in early 2019 by three of India’s state-owned companies, namely National Aluminium Company (NALCO), Hindustan Copper (HCL), and Mineral Exploration Company (MECL). Later in 2020, KABIL inked a preliminary agreement to explore and develop assets such as lithium and polymetallic minerals with the Argentine mining business Jujuy Energia y Mineria Sociedad del Estado. Additionally, India and Australia signed a letter of intent (LOI) in February of this year to collaborate on lowering the cost of innovative and renewable energy technologies, specifically photovoltaics and clean hydrogen, and expanding their deployment.