• The Mines Ministry will be launching its first tranche of auctions for critical and strategic minerals. This would be the first ever such auction of critical minerals in India.
  • This is a landmark initiative that will boost our economy, enhance national security and support our transition to a clean energy future.The auction will be held online through a transparent two stage, ascending forward auction process. Some of these critical and strategic minerals include ones like lithium, graphite, cobalt, titanium and rare earth elements (REE).
  • ENERGY GOALS India has committed to achieve 50 per cent of cumulative electric power installed capacity from non fossil sources by 2030. Such ambitious plans for energy transition are set to drive the demand for electric cars, wind and solar energy projects and battery storage systems thereby increasing the demand for these critical minerals, the statement said.
  • Most of the critical and strategic minerals requirements in India are met only through imports. In a bid to push for better supplies and ensure private participation in the sector, sweeping changes were made to the MMDR Act earlier this year. The amendments saw 24 minerals being notified as ‘Critical and Strategic’ minerals and confers the Central government the power to grant concession of these minerals.
  • India is endowed with large resources of heavy minerals which occur mainly along coastal stretches of the country and also in inland placers. Heavy mineral sands comprise a group of seven minerals, viz, ilmenite, leucoxene (brown ilmenite), rutile, zircon, sillimanite, garnet and monazite. Ilmenite (FeO.TiO2 ) and rutile (TiO2) are the two chief minerals of titanium.
  • Titanium dioxide occurs in polymorphic forms as rutile, anatase (octahedrite) and brookite. Though brookite is not found on a large-scale in nature, it is an alteration product of other titanium minerals. Leucoxene is an alteration product of ilmenite and is usually found associated with ilmenite.
  • Ilmenite and rutile along with other heavy minerals are important constituents of beach sand deposits found right from Saurashtra coast (Gujarat) in the west to Digha coast, West Bengal in the east.
  • World resources of anatase, ilmenite and rutile are more than 2 billion tonnes. World reserves of ilmenite are estimated at 882 million tonnes in terms of TiO2 content. Major reserves are in Australia (28%), China (26%), India (10%), South Africa (7%), Kenya (6%), Brazil and Madagascar (5% each), Norway and Canada (4% each) and Mozambique (2%).
  • The world reserves of rutile are 62 million tonnes in terms of TiO2 content. Major rutile reserves are located in Australia (47%), followed by Kenya (21%), South Africa (13%), India (12 %) and Ukraine (4%).

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