Till recently, the private sector was not allowed to mine minerals such as lithium, beryllium, niobium, tantalum, titanium, and zirconium. Approval for mining these critical minerals comes on the heels of the recent announcement by the Ministry of Mines, which has specified 30 minerals, including those which are critical for the energy and mobility transition. A composite licence to conduct exploration, undertake prospecting operations, and operate mines can encourage more private investment in the sector.
How will the government ensure sustainable and responsible mineral exploration and mining? Given the criticality of these minerals, will the regulations governing their mining substantially differ from those for other minerals? This amendment is intended to attract private players. However, how the licences will be allotted (auctions or direct allotment) remains to be seen.