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Coal India Studies Argentina Lithium Asset Development With U.S. Company

State-held giant Coal India and a U.S. company are considering joint development of lithium assets in Argentina, under the U.S.-led pact for Minerals Security Partnership, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing an Indian source with direct knowledge of the matter.

Earlier this year, India signed an agreement with the state-owned enterprise of Catamarca province in northwest Argentina for a lithium exploration and mining project in the Argentinian province. 

To boost its energy transition efforts, India is also betting on acquiring lithium and copper assets overseas and sent earlier this year a delegation to search for such resources in Chile, a top producer of both critical minerals.

Chile is the world’s biggest copper producer and the second-largest producer of lithium, and India is now keen to explore procuring resources from assets in Chile.

Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia have large resources in the so-called Lithium Triangle—a lithium-rich region of the Andes, encompassed by the borders of the three South American countries.

India and the U.S. agreed on Monday to co-invest in a lithium resource project in South America and a rare earths deposit in Africa, and to responsibly and sustainably diversify critical mineral supply chains, the White House said following a meeting of U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan with Indian National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval in New Delhi.

India is part of the Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) which considers projects along the full clean energy value chain, from mining, extraction, and secondary recovery, to processing and refining, and ultimately to recycling.

Now it looks like India’s state-owned coal company is interested in exploring lithium assets in Argentina under the partnership.

“Coal India has come forward for the Kachi block in Argentina in which a U.S. company and two other countries are interested to explore under the MSP,” the anonymous Indian source told Reuters. 

Currently, preliminary studies are being carried out, the source added.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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