Australia-India need to urgently partner in minerals trade to sustain the growth

A list of eight critical minerals is divided into three categories based on their end-use industries that matter most to Australia and India.

Australia and India share a long-standing and multi-faceted relationship in the resources sector.

A new report entitled ‘Unlocking Australia-India critical minerals partnership potential‘ released by Austrade has highlighted that Australian companies and institutions should partner with India.

The 100-page report covers India’s current and future demand for critical minerals in India and potential opportunities for cooperation with Australia.

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Image source:: Key Megatrends for 2030 – Austrade Report 2021.

The report observes that this partnership is possible in the following key areas:

• supply critical minerals
• attract investment for Australian mining and mineral processing projects
• export services and technology to process, refine, recover and recycle critical minerals
• help with mineral exploration in India
• support India’s mining-related environmental management
• carry out joint research projects.

Image source: mines.gov.in

Australian Government has dedicated trade and investment teams in major Indian cities.

According to the report, India offers economies of scale for offtake projects and a pipeline of manufacturing-led commercial innovation opportunities.

The report lists eight critical minerals divided into three categories based on their end-use industries that matter most to Australia and India.

  • traditional – titanium and vanadium
  • sunrise – lithium
  • mixed use:
    • cobalt
    • nickel
    • graphite
    • light rare earth elements (LREEs)
    • heavy rare earth elements (HREEs).
Image source: Solar India – Wikipedia.

The Indian Government under PM Narendra Modi has implemented policy reforms to accelerate new low-carbon sectors such as renewable energy, energy storage and electric mobility.

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In addition, PM Modi’s Make in India and Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-Reliant India) also include production-linked incentives for multiple sunrise sectors such as advanced chemistry, cell battery storage for electric vehicles.

Image source: The Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman – Wikipedia.

This was reflected in the Modi government’s 2021-22 budget, where it provided INR 1.97 lakh crore (A$38 billion) for the PLI scheme in 13 key sectors including electronics, automotive, energy storage, steel, etc telecommunications.

Australia recognises that India has a large industrial base that includes mechanical, chemical, electrical, automotive and defence production.

The report highlights that India’s projected demand for critical minerals presents significant opportunities to increase cooperation with Australia.

Reciprocally, Indian firms are also exploring investment opportunities in Australian mining and mineral processing assets.

This new report was commissioned by Austrade as part of the Australia-India Business Exchange (AIBX) program and has been prepared by Deloitte India (Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited).

AIBX is the Australian Government’s flagship program to increase partnerships and engagement
between Australian and Indian businesses.