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Mains Test Series

Distribution of Mineral Resources

Q. In the context of the recently release list of critical minerals by the Ministry of Mines, delve into factors impacting the criticality of mineral resources. (250 words)

Introduction: Critical minerals are those minerals that are vital for economic development, but their supply may be at risk due to scarcity, geopolitical issues, trade policy or other factors known as critical minerals.

India has identified 30 critical minerals essential for the country’s self-reliance and is addressing potential supply chain vulnerability.

The criticality of minerals has been evaluated through the economic importance and supply chain disruption due to the risk of non-availability or unaffordable price.  

Everything You Need To Know About Distribution Of Mineral Resources Mains TestSignificance of critical mineral

  1. Economic development Industries such as high-tech electronics, telecommunication, semiconductor production, defence, batteries, EVs, and wind turbines heavily rely on critical minerals. India’s significant demand and potential in low carbon energy generation industries, their growth can lead to job creation and innovation.
  2. National security Critical minerals are vital for developing space technology, aerospace, self-reliance on defence technology, nuclear technology, and cutting-edge military hardware.
  3. Environmental sustainabilityIndia strives for indigenous development of emerging technology in the clean energy sector and aims to become a netzero greenhouse gas emitter by 2070.
  4. International cooperation Engaging in global partnerships to diversify its import of resources and reduce dependence on China.

Challenges related to critical minerals in India 1. Supply-chain challenges

  • China’s dominance Dependence on China for critical minerals import makes India’s supply chain vulnerable to disruption.
  • Availability or potential shortage – India has limited reserves of critical minerals, which forces India to import from other countries. It increases supply chain risk.
  • Uneven distribution Uneven global distribution creates supply chain vulnerability.
  • End-of-Life Recycling Rate – The feasibility and financial viability of recycling the mineral from end-of-life products, reducing the need for primary production.

2.    Geopolitical challenge

  • Russia and Ukraine conflict Russia and Ukraine are significant producers of critical minerals. The current conflict between the two nations adversely impacts the mineral supply chain.
  • China -Russia partnership – A strategic partnership between China and Russia in the critical minerals supply chain can influence the power balance and have consequences for other nations, including India.

3.    Domestic challenge

  • Domestic endowment – Increasing demand for renewable technologies and electric vehicle strain can disrupt the supply of minerals.
  • Environmental challenges – Environmental and social risks are associated with the mining and processing of minerals, including land use, water consumption and pollution.

Measures taken by the Government to promote critical minerals

  • Mineral security partnership(MSP)- India is a partner of MSP to secure critical mineral supply chains.
  • National Mineral Policy 2019 has put forward a vision for accelerated growth of the production of critical minerals to boost economic development through Make in India and reduce import dependence.
  • KABIL(Khanij Bidesh India Limited)-To consistently supply critical and strategic minerals to the domestic market.

Conclusion

India needs critical minerals at an enormous to ensure sustainable economic growth and a self-reliant future. Expanding exploration and mine development will help ensure that the production of minerals scales up to meet demands. The Government should incentivise private companies to engage in low-carbon technology development.

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