India explores acquisition of Sri Lankan graphite mines

New Delhi, India is in talks with Sri Lanka to acquire graphite mines in the island nation. The demand for graphite is steadily increasing, as it is the most common material used for anodes in lithium-ion and other batteries.

The Indian government had discussions with the government of Sri Lanka on acquiring graphite mines there, sources said.

However, the sources refused to give further details stating that the talks are at very preliminary stage.

The graphite found in Sri Lanka is of very good quality.

Graphite features on the list of 30 critical minerals, which was released by the government last year.

The government had recently said that public sector companies Coal India, NMDC and ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) will start looking actively for critical mineral assets overseas.

OVL is the overseas investment arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation.

These public sector enterprises already have some kind of presence abroad.

Meanwhile, Khanij Bidesh India Ltd (KABIL), a joint venture of three public sector enterprises, was formed to scout for mineral assets overseas. KABIL is owned by three public sector undertakings -- National Aluminium Company Ltd (Nalco), Hindustan Copper Ltd (HCL) and Mineral Exploration and Consultancy Ltd (MECL).

India is looking for tie ups with Chile for getting access to copper and lithium mineral assets in the country.

Critical minerals such as copper, lithium, nickel and cobalt are important components in rapidly growing clean energy technologies -- from wind turbines and electricity networks to electric vehicles.