India and the United States are jointly investing in a lithium resource project in South America, as well as a rare earth deposit in Africa, in a strategic move to diversify critical minerals supply chains and reduce reliance on China. This collaboration was reported by Reuters on Tuesday, citing informed sources.

State-run Coal India, in partnership with a US company, is exploring lithium blocks in Argentina. This initiative is part of India’s involvement in the US-led Minerals Security Partnership (MSP), which New Delhi joined last year to ensure the availability of vital minerals necessary for achieving zero-carbon goals. The Kachi block in Argentina, where initial studies are underway, has attracted interest from Coal India, a US company, and two other nations under the MSP framework.

During a visit to Argentina in February, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken highlighted the US’s intent to invest in critical minerals, especially lithium. This investment aligns with India’s broader strategy to engage in multiple global critical minerals projects. Under the MSP, India has been invited to participate in 20-25 projects, with the Indian government identifying four key initiatives. Two of these projects are in collaboration with the US, including the exploration of the Kangankunde block in Malawi by India’s state-owned IREL, focusing on rare earth elements.

The Indian government has also directed miners to explore critical minerals in Australia’s Dubbo region. Additionally, India has proposed a critical minerals trade agreement with the US to eliminate mutual tariffs, similar to an existing US-Japan agreement that provides Japanese automakers with broader access to US electric vehicle tax credits.

On Monday, both nations confirmed ongoing talks for a bilateral Critical Minerals Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), aimed at further solidifying their partnership in this crucial sector.

Source: Business World