India’s KABIL & Argentina’s CAMYEN SE sign landmark agreement for first-ever exploration & mining of Lithium

Union Mines Minister Shri Joshi
signing of the agreement

Catamarca (Argentina)/Bhubaneswar,15.01.24: The Ministry of Mines, Government of India, is pleased to announce a significant milestone achieved by KhanijBidesh India Limited (KABIL) by signing an agreement with the state-owned enterprise of Catamarca province of Argentina CATAMARCA MINERA Y ENERGÉTICA SOCIEDAD DEL ESTADO (CAMYEN SE) today at Catamarca, Argentina.

The agreement was signed in presence of Honorable Governor of Catamarca Lic. Raul Jalil, Honorable Vice Governor of Catamarca, Eng. Ruben Dusso and Honorable Minister of Mines Catamarca, H. E. Marcelo Murua and Ambassador of India to Argentina, H. E. Dinesh Bhatia. The signing ceremony was virtually attended by Honorable Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mines, Government of India, H. E. Shri Pralhad Joshi & Secretary, Ministry of Mines, Government of India, Shri V. L. Kantha Rao. KABIL Chairman and CMD NALCO Shri Sridhar Patra and KABIL CEO & NALCO Director (Commercial) Shri Sadashiv Samantaray were present at the signing-in ceremony.

Speaking on the occasion, Hon’ble Union Minister Shri Pralhad Joshi said, “This is a historic day for both India and Argentina as we are scripting a new chapter in bilateral ties with the agreement signing between KABIL and CAMYEN – a step which will not only play a crucial role in driving the energy transition for sustainable future, but also ensure a resilient and diversified supply chain for critical and strategic minerals essential for various industries in India.”

This is the first ever lithium exploration and mining project by a Government Company of India.  KABIL will start exploration and development of 5 lithium brine blocks viz 1. Cortadera-I, 2. Cortadera-VII, 3. Cortadera-VIII, 4. Cateo-2022-01810132 and 5. Cortadera-VI covering an area of about 15,703 Hectare, located in the Catamarca province of Argentina.KABIL is also preparing to set up a branch office at Catamarca, Argentina. The project cost is about 200 crores.

With this agreement, KABIL has obtained exploration and exclusive rights for 5 blocks to evaluate, prospect and explore and subsequent to existence/discovery of lithium mineral, exploitation right for commercial production.  This will not only boost its quest for sourcing lithium for India but will also help in bringing in technical & operational experience for Brine type lithium exploration, exploitation and extraction.

A joint venture company namely KABIL, has been set up with the participation of three Central Public Sector Enterprises namely, National Aluminium Company Ltd. (NALCO), Hindustan Copper Ltd. (HCL) and Mineral Exploration Company Ltd. (MECL) for exploration of critical minerals across the globe, with Navratna CPSE NALCO as the leading partner. This is a significant step towards critical mineral security for the Nation and a step towards ‘AatmanirbharBharat’.

Argentina is the part of “Lithium Triangle” along with Chile and Bolivia with more than half of world’s total lithium resources and having the distinction of having 2nd largest lithium resources, 3rd largest lithium reserves and 4th largest production in world.

This strategic move not only strengthens the bilateral ties between India and Argentina but also contributes to the sustainable development of the mining sector, ensuring a resilient and diversified supply chain for critical and strategic minerals essential for various industries.