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IESW 2024: Optimizing battery supply chains

From left: Nashid Chowdhury, Naresh Lalwani, Rohit Laumas, Raj Surendran and Dr. K. Balasubramanian.

Australia is vital to battery raw materials and the possibility of greater Indo-Australian co-operation in the area of supply chains was looked into on Day 2 of the India Energy Storage Week 2024.  

Moderated by Rohit Laumas, Mining & Supply Chain Consultant, Customized Energy Solutions, the session was chaired by Nashid Chowdhury, Western Australia Trade & Investment Commissioner, Western Australia.  

Ms Nashid Introduced the audience to Western Australia, noted for its robust mining sector. She dwelt on the large state's critical mineral strategy, and noted that since the state launched its Future Battery Strategy in 2019, production of critical minerals has swelled, with sales of copper, cobalt, nickel and lithium increasing from $6 billion then to $22 billion in 2023.

Moderator Rohit Laumas pointed out that the government has usually been the guiding light for laying out policies, which is then up by the industry. He asked panel members to draw on their experience to highlight how India and WA can collaborate.  

Naresh Lalwani, Executive Vice President, JSW Energy Ltd, pointed out that Australia is a very important partner for India as far as resource utilization is concerned. He pointed out that for the last 50 years, coking coal for steel has been coming Australia, which now accounts for almost 80 percent of India's coking coal supply.

"The same is the situation for lithium," he said, adding that this showcased Australia's capabilities in achieving consistent mining. "Both countries are also members of Quad, Mineral Security Participation… so there is a certain like-mindedness, which bodes well overall," Lalwani concluded. 

Raj Surendran, CEO, Tianqi Lithium Australia Energy Limited,  spoke on the role of WA in India's battery supply chain. "What WA has, is the ability to mine geographically difficult minerals at a good quality, and at a low cost," he opined. "India can benefit from this mining knowledge in terms of available resources," he added. 

Dr. K. Balasubramanian, Principal Investigator & Director, NFTDC, Hyderabad, opined that WA offered India a three-fold advantage in areas of pilot size projects, long-term strategic supply chain, and capability building, which he said can be done much faster with India than anybody else. 

Denise Eaton, Trade Commissioner for Federal Government of Australia, delivered the vote of thanks.   

For more details of the IESW 2024, visit indiaesa.info

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