India scrambles to look overseas for rare earths used in EVs – by Rosemay Marandi and Kiran Sharma (Nikkei Asian Review – June 27, 2019)

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI — Three Indian state-run companies are forming a joint venture to secure minor metals such as lithium and cobalt that could fuel India’s plan for mass adoption of electric vehicles by 2030.

National Aluminum, Hindustan Copper and Mineral Exploration Corp. plan on exploring mines in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and other countries for metals used to produce EV batteries, besides building strategic reserves of tungsten, nickel and rare earths.

India’s efforts toward securing a supply of minor metals, experts say, is crucial at a time when China is threatening to restrict export of rare earths as part of its escalating trade war with the U.S.

The three companies are planning to explore alternative sources to meet growing demand from producers of electric cars. The joint venture, Khanij Bidesh India, will have an authorized capital of 100 billion rupees ($1.45 billion), with National Aluminum holding a 34% stake.

“The JV will acquire assets in overseas countries,” said Hindustan Copper Chairman and Managing Director Santosh Sharma. The tit-for-tat trade war between the U.S. and China, which began last year, will enter a new phase if China actually limits exports of rare earths.

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