India has entered a strategic agreement with Argentina to establish scientific-technological co-operation in the field of Lithium which includes joint exploration, production and commercialization of mineral products.
In February, when President of the Argentine Republic, H.E. Mr. Mauricio Macri visited India, the two countries had expressed a commitment to further deepen cooperation in several areas including renewable energy and mining.
Building on already established strong ties between the two countries, the latest MoU is India’s effort to secure critical minerals in response to the Chinese dominance and control of rare earth metals and key mineral reserves worldwide. India relies heavily on China for imports of Lithium-ion cells required for making battery packs used in electric vehicles and energy storage solutions.
Further, India has set a target to have least 30 percent of its vehicles run on electrical batteries by 2030, and to have 175 GW power generation from renewable energy sources by 2022 – to achieve both these targets India needs to acquire a substantial amount of lithium.
This MoU, therefore, looks at eventually reducing India's dependence on Chinese markets for the supply of Li-ion cells and bolster domestic manufacturing.
The agreement was signed between the Indian joint venture company Khanij Bidesh India Ltd. (KABIL) and an Argentine state-owned enterprise, JEMSE in the presence of the Governor of the Argentine Province of Jujuy, Gerardo Morales, the head of JEMSE, Felipe Albornoz, and the CEO of KABIL India, Ranjit Rath.
The MoU allows India to do joint work in the areas of exploration and production of minerals, such as lithium and polymetallic, as well as those projects related to the addition of the value of lithium carbonate, production, and transmission of electrical energy. It further looks to enhance cooperation in the study, information, and commercialization of the mineral products.
The goal is to establish a society to develop, build, commercially market and jointly operate projects with a high technological content in the energy, mining and natural resource exploitation fields in the territory of the Province of Jujuy.
Argentina is among the top lithium producing countries in the world, and the provinces of Catamarca, Salta, and Jujuy, are known to have a significant quantity and quality of lithium reserves.