India and Australia on Monday agreed to build a stronger partnership in the field of critical minerals which are crucial for clean energy technologies such as batteries, electric vehicles, as well as mobile phones and computers. Australia confirmed that it would commit the Australian Dollar (AUD) 5.8 million to the three-year India-Australia Critical Minerals Investment Partnership.
The deal comes following the first meeting between Resources and Northern Australia Minister Madeleine King and her Indian counterpart, the Minister for Coal and Mines, Pralhad Joshi. Australia and India have strengthened cooperation on the development of critical minerals projects and supply chains since the election of the Anthony Albanese Government.
“Australia is a trusted supplier of resources and energy to India, and we can build on the success of those established supply chains as Australia’s critical minerals sector grows,” King said.
“Australia has the resources to help India fulfil its ambitions to lower emissions and meet the growing demand for critical minerals to help India’s space and defence industries, and the manufacture of solar panels, batteries and electric vehicles,” she added. King said that Australia welcomed India’s strong interest and support for a bilateral partnership which will help advance critical minerals projects in Australia while diversifying global supply chains.
Meanwhile, the Indian minister said that India is among the fastest-growing economies in the world and there is huge scope for collaboration in the mineral sector. Technology transfer, knowledge-sharing and investment in critical minerals like lithium and cobalt are strategic to achieving clean energy ambitions.
“We have recently signed an MoU between Khanij Bidesh India Ltd, and the Critical Minerals Facilitation Office (CMFO), Australia, which aims to ensure reliable supplies of Critical and Strategic Minerals to India,” he added.
Joshi further said that India and Australia are natural partners. Not only are both the nations rich in minerals, but the trade relations have witnessed robust growth in recent years, which can be leveraged for strengthening the economies of both countries.
He lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to take the India-Australia relationship to new heights. “The MoU includes joint due diligence in Lithium and Cobalt mineral assets of Australia. Both CMFO and the Indian JV KABIL will jointly fund the due diligence process with an initial total amount of USD 6 million. Once the due diligence is completed and potential projects are identified, we will explore investment opportunities through different methods as envisaged in the MoU,” said Joshi.
He also focussed on technology transfer, knowledge-sharing and investment in critical minerals like lithium and cobalt are strategic to achieving clean energy ambitions. Australia hosts vast reserves of critical minerals, such as lithium and cobalt, which are crucial for clean energy technologies such as batteries and electric vehicles, as well as mobile phones and computers.
Following the talks, both ministers toured the Tianqi Lithium Refinery at Kwinana. Joshi’s visit comes as the latest quarterly snapshot of Australia’s resources and energy forecasts ongoing strong demand for lithium and other critical minerals on the back of growing global demand for electric vehicles.
The June 2022 Resources and Energy Quarterly publication by the Department of Industry, Science and Resources, projects the value of Australia’s lithium exports will double from USD 4.1 billion in 2021-22 to USD 9.4 billion in 2023-24. Lithium exports were worth only USD 1.1 billion in 2020-21, read King’s press release. The deal comes amid growing global demand for electric vehicles and clean energy technology.
The Albanese Government has a long-standing commitment to building a stronger relationship with India. The Government has committed to an update of the 2018 India Economic Strategy, an annual India-Australia Economic Dialogue, and developing Indian language capabilities in Australia, added the release.