State owned (KABIL) consortium of three PSU companies including: National Aluminum Company (NALCO), Hindustan Copper (HCL) and Mineral Exploration Corp Ltd., (MECL) and the Bolivian state owned Yacimientos del Litio Bolivianos (Bolivian Lithium Deposits) (YLB) Corporation are expected to sign an agreement for setting up a Lithium Battery plant in India.
Sources confirmed to Financial Express Online that, “When President Ramnath Kovind visits the landlocked country end of month, an agreement is expected to be inked between the two sides which would outline the contours of the project to be up here.”
As has been reported earlier by Financial Express Online, KABIL delegation had visited the country recently to visit mines, pilot plants and exploration assets of YLB Corporation as well as had meetings with the concerned authorities at the Ministry of Energy of Bolivia.
The Consortium has visited the `Lithium Triangle’ in South America — comprising Chile, Argentina and Bolivia, as India is in the process of setting up large lithium-ion battery plants, and these countries have offered to meet India’s growing demand.
For identifying, exploring, acquiring, developing and processing strategic minerals overseas, the Indian Ministry of Mines has formed a consortium which has the mandate to travel across the globe to identify the critical minerals needed for projects in the country.
To achieve achieving an all-electric car fleet by 2030, India has made a concerted effort to reach out to the countries which are holding major Lithium deposits and in the last two months led by Ranjit Rath, CMD, MECL, SK Patnaik, DGM (Mines) NALCO and Amit Degvekar, Sr Manager, HCL, of KABIL Joint Venture have traveled to Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.
Currently, 100% of Li-ion batteries or cells are imported and are commonly used in portable electronic devices, solar power plants as well as electric vehicles. These batteries are in demand due to their high energy density and high charge and discharge rate capabilities, as compared with other type of batteries such as Ni-MH or Lead Acid.
The Financial Express was the first to report that Bolivia, a landlocked country is seeking Indian capital to invest in developing Bolivia’s massive lithium deposits, which account for 60% of the world’s reserves.
How the two both countries can work together on the Lithium batteries has been the focus of the KABIL visit to the South American country and visited the Uyuni Salt Flats and had a tour of the existing infrastructure and future sites.
It is estimated that Bolivia has the world’s largest deposits of Lithium in the Salar de Uyuni and some studies indicate that Salar de Uyuni has 140 million tonnes of Lithium. There have been suggestions from experts that as part of Make in India Programme, the government should strive to set up R&D and technology development centres for indigenous lithium ion battery manufacturing plants, which is crucial to India’s ambitions of achieving energy security.
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