With net zero in focus, renewable sources of energy, battery and pumped storage and electric mobility in the transport sector has a major role in India’s energy transition.

But capacity addition in solar photovoltaics, use of batteries in mobility/storage and wind power requires critical minerals whose supply is concentrated in a few countries. This poses a challenge for India which has to depend on imports. The list of critical minerals required include lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper manganese, graphite and rare earths. Among these, the last two have special significance.

But despite the urgent need to tap resources, very little has been done by India vis-à-vis policy. Notes Siddharth Goel, Senior Policy Advisor, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), “Several countries have announced or implemented critical minerals policies and programmes, reflecting the growing importance of these minerals to their energy security and economic interests. Despite India’s ambitions of becoming a global clean energy manufacturing hub, it is yet to announce any official policies or create a mission in securing critical minerals to support this clean energy transformation.”

IISD’s research reveals that India’s lack of access to critical minerals is one of the key bottlenecks faced by companies investing in India’s EV ecosystem. India is also yet to fully exploit its reserves, secure their external supply or build the necessary refining capacity of key minerals.


According to Goel, there are several strategies that India can adopt to help mitigate the supply of critical minerals. These include, investing in downstream diversification in resource-rich nations and leveraging its G20 presidency to push for greater international cooperation on critical mineral supply chains.

A Council on Energy Environment and Water (CEEW) report highlights that production of most minerals is geographically concentrated in a few countries. According to Dr Arunabha Ghosh, CEO of CEEW, international collaboration on critical minerals must go beyond simply supporting a low carbon future, it calls for more efficient mining and enhanced recycling practices backed by regulations and understanding between producer and consuming nations.

Creating a strategy is only the first step and needs to be accompanied by specific actions including building closer ties with resource-rich nations, exploring substitutes for specific minerals and bolstering recycling of key minerals. This requires close engagement between the government and private sector, as well as stronger inter-departmental coordination within the government.