What are Critical Minerals?

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What are Critical Minerals? Blog Image


An expert committee set up by the Central Government recently identified 30 minerals as critical to India, including lithium and vanadium, which are largely used in the manufacturing of batteries.

About Critical Minerals:


  • It is a metallic or non-metallic element that has two characteristics.
    • It is essential for the functioning of our modern technologies, economies or national security and
    • There is a risk that its supply chains could be disrupted.
  • The 'criticality' of minerals changes with time as supply and society's needs shift.
  • Applications
    • They are used to manufacture advanced technologies, including mobile phones, computers, fibre-optic cables, semiconductors, banknotes, and defence, aerospace and medical applications.
    • Many are used in low-emission technologies, such as electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels, and rechargeable batteries.
    • Some are also crucial for common products, such as stainless steel and electronics.
  • Examples: antimony, beryllium, bismuth, cobalt, copper, gallium, germanium, lithium, vanadium etc.
  • Top Producers: Chile, Indonesia, Congo, China, Australia and South Africa.


What is the Mineral Security Partnership?

  • It is an ambitious new initiative to bolster critical mineral supply chains, announced by the United States (US) and key partner countries in June 2022.
  • The goal of the alliance is to ensure that critical minerals are produced, processed, and recycled in a manner that supports the ability of countries to realise the full economic development benefit of their geological endowments.
  • The focus of the grouping would be on the supply chains of minerals such as Cobalt, Nickel, Lithium and also the 17 “rare earth” minerals.
  • India was recently inducted into the Mineral Security Partnership (MSP).


Q1) What are rare earth elements?

The rare earth elements (REE) are a set of seventeen metallic elements. These include the fifteen lanthanides on the periodic table plus scandium and yttrium.

Source: India releases list of 30 critical minerals crucial for ‘economic development, national security’