Khanij Bidesh India Limited (KABIL) has evinced interest to partner with Argentina-based CAMYEN for prospecting Lithium, an official release said on 27 December.
The joint venture (JV) under the Ministry of Mines, in 2020, had signed a MoU with the CAMYEN to explore sourcing of Lithium and other mineral assets in Argentina.
The Ministry said that in October this year, CAMYEN, through Indian Embassy at Buenos Aires, shared information regarding two prospective lithium projects in La Aguada and El Indio in Catamarca.
A team of geologists visited Argentina in November 2022 for evaluating and assessing lithium projects proposed by CAMYEN in Catamarca province.
Subsequent to preliminary assessment, KABIL expressed interest to partner with CAMYEN in December 2022 for prospecting two identified areas with the objective of establishing projects for extraction of lithium in due course of time.
Argentina is ranked among the main mineral reserves worldwide. Together with Chile and Bolivia, the northwest of the country forms the so-called "Lithium Triangle” and is currently the fourth largest producer and has the third largest world reserve of this mineral.
So far, KABIL has signed non-binding MoUs for information sharing with respect to prospective acreages of Lithium with three state-owned organisations of Argentina — YPF, JEMSE and CAMYEN.
The MoU signed with Jujuy Energia y Mineria Sociedad del Estado (JEMSE) in July 2020 involves exploration and extraction of Lithium, in the province of Jujuy, a major Lithium producing region.
As per the MoU, the shared information dockets entailing prospective mineral acreages will be jointly evaluated such that due diligence — technical, commercial, regulatory, statutory etc. can be carried out for investment decisions.
Once approved, the definitive agreement will be signed for commercial negotiation and acquisition of participating interest or equity in the projects by KABIL.
The government created Khanij Bidesh India (KABIL) in 2019 as a JV among National Aluminium Company (NALCO), HCL and Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited (MECL) in 2019.
It is mandated to identify and acquire overseas mineral assets for 12 such minerals including Lithium, Cobalt, Tungsten and Tin.
KABIL is currently pursuing engagements with select source countries such as Australia, Argentina and Chile with a focus on Lithium.
It is working on signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with Empresa Nacional de Minería (ENAMI), a Chilean State Mineral company for jointly pursuing lithium mining projects in Chile.
A Governemnt-to-Government (G2G) MoU was signed between Government of India and the Government of Australia through Ministry of Mines and Critical Minerals Facilitation Office (CMFO) respectively for co-operation in the field of mining and processing of Lithium.
Under aegis of the G2G MoU, a detailed MoU with a collaborative framework has been signed between KABIL and CMFO on 10 March 2022, for carrying out joint due diligence of select Greenfield and Brownfield projects to identify Lithium and Cobalt mineral assets in Australia.
Both the countries have committed an initial investment of $6 million shared equally between them for the joint due diligence process. The project is expected to be finished in the next year.
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