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India to launch second tranche of auction of critical and strategic mineral blocks

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India will launch the second tranche of auction of critical and strategic mineral blocks on February 29, the government informed in a press release.

Union Minister of Coal, Mines & Parliamentary Affairs, Shri Pralhad Joshi will launch the tranche, the PIB said. Letters of financial grants will also be handed over to start-ups in the mining and mineral sector during the tender launch.

Tender documents shall be on sale from February 29, with details of the mineral blocks, auction terms, timelines etc accessible on the MSTC auction platform at www.mstcecommerce.com.

The bidding will take place online with a transparent two-stage ascending forward auction process deciding the winner. Eligible bidders shall be selected based on the highest percentage of the value of mineral despatched quoted by them.

Critical minerals -- such as lithium, graphite, cobalt, titanium and rare earth elements (REE) -- cater to the requirements of sectors such as renewable energy, defence, agriculture, pharmaceutical, high-tech electronics, telecommunications, transport, creation of gigafactories etc.

They play a pivotal role in development of electric vehicles, wind and solar energy projects and battery storage systems and will be crucial in helping India meet its target to achieve 50 percent of cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil sources by 2030.

Last year, the government notified 24 minerals as critical and strategic minerals through an amendment in the MMDR Act. The amendment conferred the Central government with the power to grant concession rights of these minerals and prioritize their auction based on the country's strategic requirements.

Following this, Joshi had launched 20 critical mineral blocks in the first tranche of auction in November last year. 

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