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Indian firms welcome to own lithium mines: Australian envoy

M. Ramesh | | Updated on: Oct 17, 2018

Indian companies are welcome to own lithium mines in Australia, the island-nation’s High Commissioner in India, Ms Harinder Sidhu, told BusinessLine , on Tuesday.

“There is no impediment in doing so, subject to regulatory and other requirements, and there is no impediment to Australia exporting lithium to India,” she said.

Ms Sidhu was in Chennai to unveil a document called ‘An India Economic Strategy to 2035’, which outlines Australia’s strategy to engage with India between 2018 and 2035.

“We see an interest by India in engaging with Australia for lithium mining,” she observed.

Australia has huge reserves of lithium, estimated at around 2.7 million tonnes, mostly in the state of Western Australia, not far from the capital city, Perth. Last year, the country produced 18,700 tonnes of the metal, 34 per cent more than the year before.

She said that a “complication” could arise that while the suppliers in Australia were all private companies, importers in India were Indian government companies.

Answering a question, Ms Sidhu said that a delegation from the government of Western Australia would soon make a “return visit” to India to further its efforts for connecting Perth to Indian cities.In August, Western Australia’s Tourism Minister Paul Papalia led a delegation to India to discuss Indian airlines flying to Perth.

“They hope to put an attractive commercial proposition to Indian air service providers,” she said, pointing out that the flying time between Chennai and Perth “is not even six hours.”

The perception that Australia is very far away is really not true, she said.

Published on October 17, 2018

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