In line with the country's ambition to generate 50 percent of its electric power from non-fossil sources by 2030, India has launched the auction of 18 critical and strategic mineral blocks valued at around 30 lakh crore. While launching the second tranche of the mining auctions in New Delhi, Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi said the Government's efforts are aligned with global sustainability goals, emphasizing responsible exploration and extraction of critical minerals.

These minerals are crucial for sectors like renewable energy, defense, pharmaceuticals, and high-tech electronics.

The auction process will involve the sale of tender documents followed by online bidding through a transparent two-stage

ascending forward auction. An amendment to the MMDR Act in 2023 identified 24 minerals as critical and strategic, empowering the Central Government to grant mineral concessions. Mr. Joshi also announced the Ministry of Mines' expansion of its Science and Technology Programme to fund research and innovation in startups and MSMEs in the Mining sector.

Five startups, selected through a systematic process, were awarded a financial grant of seven crore rupees.

The first round of auctions commenced in November last year to further the nation's clean energy agenda. Mr Joshi also announced plans for a third tranche once the Government secures its next term in Parliament.

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