While Hindustan Zinc Ltd’s (HZL) acquisition plans for Vedanta’s overseas zinc mines are now in limbo, the company continues to explore other overseas acquisition options, particularly in Latin America and African nations. The company is also looking to diversify into rare earth, critical mineral and lithium mining, both overseas and in India.

“We continue to explore overseas acquisition opportunities in zinc and some other minerals. Hindustan Zinc will place bids for such mine auctions as and when they open up. In India, we can look at the lithium auctions (in India) too,” Arun Misra, CEO, told businessline.

Lithium mining

The Centre is already on course to remove lithium from the list of atomic minerals and by proposing amendments to The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, it is looking to open up lithium mining to private players. India has declared lithium reserves of 5.9 million tonnes in Jammu and Kashmir, and auction for these blocks are likely in December.

Misra pointed out, the company’s “core competence” lies in mining activities of around 1-2 km depth and base metal mining continues to be an “area of interest”. “So if there is opportunity for mining copper or other critical minerals, including uranium, we can look into placing bids around them too,” he said.

Acquisition Plans

According to Misra, “there is no immediate update” on the proposed acquisition of parent company Vedanta’s overseas zinc assets (mines). The near $3 billion deal to acquire these assets “fell through” for want on consensus among various stakeholders, primarily following objections from the Centre.

The Centre — the largest minority shareholder — has a 29.5 stake in HZL. Being a related party transaction, HZL would have required approval from majority of the minority shareholders for the purchase of these overseas zinc mines to go through.

“The proposal to acquire the assets of Vedanta was floated last year and it lapsed following non-consensus among stakeholders. And we are now in a new fiscal. So the previous proposal lapses automatically. As of now there is no new proposal on this,” Misra said.

However, the company continues to explore overseas acquisition opportunities, especially in Latin American and African nations. “So we are in regular talks with out team there,” he said.