Australia and India on Monday agreed to a partnership to strengthen their co-operation in developing critical metal projects and supply chains, Australia's resources minister Madeleine King said.
King said Australia would commit A$5.8 million ($3.98 million) towards a three-year investment partnership, while signing an agreement between critical minerals firm Khanij Bidesh India Ltd and the Critical Minerals Facilitation Office of Australia (CMFO).
Both the Indian company and CMFO will jointly fund a due diligence study in lithium and cobalt mineral assets of Australia with an initial amount of $6 million.
"Once the due diligence is completed and potential projects are identified, we will explore investment opportunities through different methods as envisaged in the MoU (memorandum of understanding)," said minister King.
The partnership will help India move closer to realising its ambition to develop secure, robust and commercially viable strategic critical minerals as part of its larger mission to transition to clean sources of energy.
This comes as part of the six-day tour by union minister of parliamentary affairs, coal and mines, Pralhad Joshi to Australia which began on 3 July 2022.
Joshi will be visiting mineral-rich sites of Tianqi Lithium Kwinana and Greenbushes Mine.
During his visit, Joshi will aim to build on the MoU signed between Khanij Bidesh India Ltd (KABIL), a joint venture of three CPSEs under the ministry of mines, and Critical Minerals Facilitation Office (CMFO), of the Australian government, which aims at strengthening bilateral trade relationship and lays the path to deliver on a shared ambition to develop secure, robust and commercially viable critical minerals supply chains.
The India-Australia Critical Minerals Investment Partnership envisages joint investment for viable lithium and cobalt projects in Australia, which is critical for India’s transition towards clean energy ambitions. The steps will complement India’s mineral security for e-mobility initiatives and other diversified sectors entailing usage of critical and strategic minerals.
Demand for critical metals like lithium and cobalt has soared in recent times due to their usage in electric vehicles amid a global push towards cleaner sources of energy to tackle climate change.
At the same time, countries like the United States, Australia and India are pushing to develop new sources of critical minerals to counter China's dominance over those supply chains.