India’s Khanij Bidesh India (KABIL) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Australia’s Critical Minerals Facilitation Office (CMFO) to collaborate on lithium and cobalt identification projects in Australia.

To identify lithium and cobalt mineral assets, KABIL and CMFO will undertake joint due diligence on certain Australian greenfield and brownfield projects.

Upon identifying the sites, the parties will make final joint investment decisions and acquire the assets.

The two countries will initially fund $6m for the joint due diligence process in a 50:50 ratio.

The Indian Ministry of Mines said that the MoU has a provision of allowing any other central public sector enterprise (CPSE) as an investment partner in the asset acquisition process.

According to the ministry, the due diligence process and further investment decisions are estimated to complete in six months.

The MoU follows a government-to-government (G2G) pact signed by the Indian and Australian governments in June 2020 for cooperation in the mining and processing of critical and strategic minerals.

KABIL is a joint venture (JV) between state-run firms Aluminium Company (NALCO), Hindustan Copper Ltd. (HCL), and Mineral Exploration Company Ltd. (MECL).  

Created by the Indian Ministry of Mines in 2019, KABIL aims to identify and acquire mineral assets of critical and strategic nature such as lithium, cobalt, and others in overseas territories.

This helps India achieve self-reliance in the area of critical and strategic minerals.

CMFO operates under the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER).