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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC

India’s critical mineral play in Africa

Syllabus - Science and Technology [GS Paper-3]

Context

India is looking to ramp-up its critical mineral play in Africa as it keys resource securitisation and an upsetting of the Chinese apple-cart in the region.

Critical Minerals

  • These are minerals which might be essential for economic development and national protection.
  • The lack of availability of those minerals or the concentration of extraction or processing in some geographical places may probably result in “supply chain vulnerabilities or even disruption of resources”.

Applications of Critical Minerals

  • Clean technology initiatives such as 0-emission vehicles, wind mills, solar panels etc.
  • Critical minerals together with Cadmium, Cobalt, Gallium, Indium, Selenium and Vanadium and feature makes use of in batteries, semiconductors, sun panels, and so forth.
  • Advanced manufacturing inputs and materials consisting of defense applications, everlasting magnets, ceramics.
  • Minerals like Beryllium, Titanium, Tungsten, Tantalum, and many others. Have usage in new technologies, electronics and defense systems.
  • Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) are utilized in medical devices, most cancers treatment drugs, and dental materials.

List of Critical Minerals

  • Different international locations have their personal specific lists of important minerals based totally on their specific situations and priorities.
  • A total of 30 minerals had been discovered to be maximum critical for India, out of which two are vital as fertilizer minerals: Antimony, Beryllium, Bismuth, Cobalt, Copper, Gallium, Germanium, Graphite, Hafnium, Indium, Lithium, Molybdenum, Niobium, Nickel, PGE, Phosphorous, Potash, REE, Rhenium, Silicon, Strontium, Tantalum, Tellurium, Tin, Titanium, Tungsten, Vanadium, Zirconium, Selenium and Cadmium.

Indian Presence in africa

  • In Tanzania, India is pitching for access to resources inclusive of niobium and graphite; in Zimbabwe for lithium, and for copper and cobalt in Congo and Zambia.
  • India signed an MoU with the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire for collaboration within the area of geology and mineral assets.

Khanij Bidesh India Limited (KABIL)

  • It was formed in 2019 as a joint challenge of state-run miners NALCO, HCL and MECL to source strategic minerals which include lithium and cobalt and so on. From overseas. 
  • KABIL incorporates identity, acquisition, exploration, development, mining and processing of strategic minerals distant places for business use and the country’s requirement of these minerals.

Chinese Presence

  • In Congo, China is stated to control over 5 percent of the cobalt processing centers.
  • Chinese groups are anticipated to 80 percent in Tenke Fungurume, a copper-cobalt mine, which produces nearly 12 percent of the world’s sources.
  • Around 95 per cent of stake in a yet to be developed cobalt and copper task Kinsafu was picked up by the Chinese.
  • In Zimbabwe significant Chinese investments are being made towards securing lithium.

Way Ahead

  • Critical minerals have ended up vital for economic development and countrywide protection in the country. 
  • Minerals such as Lithium, Cobalt etc.  Have won significance in view of India’s commitment near strong transition and achieving internet-zero emission by 2070.

Source: The Hindu

UPSC Mains Practice Question

Q. Despite India being one of the countries of Gondwanaland, its mining industry contributes much less to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in percentage. Discuss. (2021)

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