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Updated January 16th, 2024 at 11:02 IST

NALCO, Hindustan Copper shares surge as KABIL seals historic Lithium exploration deal in Argentina

The agreement grants KABIL exclusive rights for the evaluation, prospecting, and exploration of five Lithium brine blocks in Argentina's Catamarca Province.

NALCO and Hindustan Copper shares surge
NALCO and Hindustan Copper shares surge | Image:Freepik
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NALCO-Hindustan Copper share surge: The shares of National Aluminium Company (NALCO) and Hindustan Copper surged 6.43 per cent and 7.02 per cent, respectively, reaching intraday highs of Rs 144 and Rs 275 apiece on the NSE today. This surge follows the groundbreaking Lithium exploration and mining project deal signed by Khanij Bidesh India Ltd. (KABIL), a joint venture involving NALCO Ltd., Hindustan Copper Ltd., and Mineral Exploration Company Ltd.

Lithium exploration deal

Image: Freepik

The agreement grants KABIL exclusive rights for the evaluation, prospecting, and exploration of five Lithium brine blocks in Argentina's Catamarca Province. In the wake of Lithium discovery, KABIL secured exploitation rights for commercial production. These blocks—Cortadera-I, Cortadera-VII, Cortadera-VIII, Cateo-2022-01810132, and Cortadera-VI—span across 15,703 hectares, incurring a cost of Rs 200 crore, as confirmed by NALCO in an exchange filing.

Argentina, forming part of the renowned "Lithium Triangle" alongside Chile and Bolivia, harbors over half of the global Lithium resources. The three nations collectively boast the second-largest Lithium resources, third-largest reserves, and fourth-largest production globally.

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"This move not only enhances India's Lithium sourcing capabilities but also brings invaluable technical and operational expertise for Brine type Lithium exploration, exploitation, and extraction," stated Kyle Rodda, senior financial market analyst at Capital.com.

KABIL, established as a joint venture to explore critical minerals globally, is led by NALCO. The Lithium exploration deal aligns with India's pursuit of securing key minerals for its green energy goals, particularly in the manufacturing of batteries for Electric Vehicles (EVs). The initiative gained significance as India discovered its first Lithium deposits in Jammu & Kashmir last year, prompting the government to invite bids for 20 critical mineral blocks, including Lithium and Graphite, in November.

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Union Minister Pralhad Joshi said, "The project will help India strengthen Lithium supplies while developing Lithium mining and downstream sectors of both countries."

The deal, signed with Argentina's state-run enterprise CAMYEN SE, grants KABIL exploration and developmental rights for commercial production.

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India's net-zero goals

Image: Freepik

India's efforts to diversify its supply chain for critical materials align with global initiatives towards achieving Net Zero goals. The Lithium exploration project costs approximately Rs 200 crore and covers five blocks—Cortadera-I, Cortadera-VII, Cortadera-VIII, Cateo-2022-01810132, and Cortadera-VI—in the Catamarca province, spanning 15,703 hectares.

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"This initiative will not only strengthen India's Lithium supplies but also contribute to the development of Lithium mining and downstream sectors in both countries," said V L Kantha Rao, top bureaucrat in the mining ministry.

Argentina, being part of the "Lithium Triangle," boasts a significant share of the world's Lithium resources, reserves, and production. Lithium, often referred to as "white gold," holds paramount importance for India's green energy goals, particularly in sectors such as electric vehicles, Lithium-ion batteries, and mobile phones.
 

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Published January 16th, 2024 at 11:01 IST

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