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India to Secure Copper & Cobalt Supply With New Deal With Congo

Updated: Apr 13, 2024 05:10:42pm

India to Secure Copper & Cobalt Supply With New Deal With Congo

New Delhi, Apr 13 (KNN) India is set to gain access to critical mineral resources like copper and cobalt from the Democratic Republic of Congo under a new agreement expected to be finalized within the next three months. 

The draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been shared with Congolese officials, paving the way for Indian companies to conduct mineral exploration and commercial off-take of successful finds in the resource-rich African nation.

The government-to-government (G2G) MoU, similar to India's recent lithium mining deal with Argentina, will allow Indian state-owned and private companies to pursue copper and cobalt mining opportunities in Congo. 

According to VL Kantha Rao, Secretary of the Union Ministry of Mines, the final agreement is likely to be signed on the sidelines of an upcoming international mining conference in Congo around June.

Copper, a key metal used in power cables, wind turbines, electric vehicles, and solar panels, has been identified as a critical mineral by the Indian government due to its importance in the energy transition. 

Likewise, cobalt is an essential component in lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, with Congo being the world's largest supplier.

As the second-largest country in sub-Saharan Africa, Congo is also a major copper producer, making it an attractive destination for Indian companies seeking to secure supplies of these critical resources.

Last week, representatives from the Democratic Republic of Congo met with Indian officials to discuss deeper collaboration in the mining sector. 

During the meeting, India expressed interest in pursuing G2G agreements to secure copper and cobalt mines, as well as conducting exploration activities such as mineral mapping, surveying, soil testing, and drilling.

The proposed deal with Congo follows India's successful acquisition of five lithium blocks in Argentina through the state-owned company Khanij Bidesh India Ltd (KABIL). 

Indian officials cited this as a model for the Congo agreement, with investments expected to be made through state-owned and private Indian companies already present in the African nation.

India's pursuit of critical mineral resources extends beyond Congo, with the country also eyeing lithium supplies from Chile, another key supplier in the "Lithium Triangle" of South America. 

Coal India has expressed interest in exploring opportunities in Chile, and a delegation of Indian officials and companies is set to attend a mining conference in the country later this month.

(KNN Bureau)


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