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India to invest in exploring lithium, cobalt mines in Australia

New Delhi: India has committed to jointly invest $6 million with the Australian government to explore lithium and cobalt mines in Australia over the next six months, in a bid to firm up supplies of key minerals needed to boost electric vehicle plans.

The Indian government said Tuesday that India's KABIL, a mining joint venture between state-owned National Aluminum Corporation, Hindustan Copper Limited and Mineral Exploration Corp, has signed a preliminary agreement with Australia's Critical Minerals Facilitation Office (CMFO).

The move comes as India is offering $2.4 billion in incentives to companies to build battery cells for electric cars locally. Lithium, whose price has surged in recent days, is a key raw material used to make electric vehicle batteries.

The Indian government said in a statement that CMFO and KABIL will carry out "joint due diligence on selected greenfield and brownfield projects to identify Lithium and cobalt assets for acquisition decisions and joint final investments."

The deal also provides for the inclusion of any other Indian state-owned companies as investment partners and expects to complete the due diligence process and take further investment decisions in the next six months.

The statement said India has chosen Latin American countries such as Argentina, Bolivia and Chile to explore strategic mineral mines abroad.

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