India is planning to inject additional equity into KABIL (Khanij Bidesh India Ltd) as it plans to ramp up acquisition of overseas mineral resources, especially critical minerals like lithium and copper. The plan is to take the paid up capital in the company to ₹500 crore, up five times the existing one.

Khanij Bidesh India Ltd is a JV of three CPSEs of the Mines Ministry that include National Aluminium Company (NALCO) – 40 per cent equity, Hindustan Copper (HCL) – 30 per cent, and the Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd (MECL) – 30 per cent.

At the time of setting up the entity, it had an authorised capital of ₹500 crore and paid-up capital of ₹100 crore as equity investment by the three promoters.

According to officials in the know, KABIL would be at the forefront of overseas acquisitions – especially critical minerals. Some of these acquisitions are expected to be “costly” and would entail investments which would require further fund infusion into the company.

“For instance, in Australia, the lithium mines being looked at are costlier when compared to the five that was acquired in Argentina. So there would be some need to increase the capital, get some funds in. We have asked KABIL to prepare a report and get back to the Ministry on their requirements,” the official in the know told businessline.

The official added that there could be additional equity investment by the promoters and current clearances allow the paid-up capital to be increased up to ₹200 crore.

The authorised capital is ₹500 crore and if required it too can be increased as overseas acquisition plans materialise. “Other funding options will be explored if required,” the official added.

Authorized capital represents the maximum amount of capital a company can raise by selling its shares, while paid-up capital is the actual amount received from the sale of shares. Paid-up share capital cannot exceed authorised capital. And a change in authorised capital can be made only with the approval of shareholders.

Overseas Acquisitions

India has already upped its play in the critical minerals sphere.

Having identified 24 such minerals, including lithium, copper, cobalt and graphite, the Mines Ministry has already signed MoUs for possible exploration tie-ups and mine acquisition, including G2G collaborations in at least eight African nations. It is also tapping into key lithium sourcing nations of South America like Argentina and Chile; and is also in advanced discussions in Australia. In the Asian region, it is planning to tap into Sri Lanka for graphite, a key EV battery making mineral.

India is predominantly dependent on imports for its critical mineral supply.

India’s lithium imports – across categories like lithium ion, oxides, etc - in FY24 stood at ₹25,074 crore, up 4 per cent. It stood at ₹24,144 crore in FY23.

On the other hand, potash imports (caustic potash and caustic soda) was around ₹1284 crore, up 2 per cent; while titanium ore imports was up 29 per cent. Nickel imports – ores, concentrate and oxides, sulphate and compounds – was up 24 per cent to ₹991 crore.