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#Geoeconomics: India looks at Russia to secure rare mineral mining tech, partnership

The mining partnership with Russia has major implications for India’s foreign policy push to secure newer sources of energy and minerals. This is because, in return for the mining technologies, Russia is keen on attracting Indian investments in its resource-rich Far Eastern region comprising vast swathes of Siberia.


In an effort to secure critical technology for mineral processing, the Ministry of Mines has initiated bilateral meetings with Russia, Business Standard reports. The initiative aims to secure advanced technologies essential for the extraction and processing of key minerals, which are vital for various high-tech, automotive, and defence applications, officials said.


This collaboration forms part of a broader strategy to attract investment in the mining and metal sectors and foster cooperation in mineral exploration.

“The first round of consultations was held earlier this month. We are seeking Russian technology and their collaboration in exploring and mining minerals in India,” an official said.


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Official queries sent to the mines ministry seeking details of the deal remained unanswered until the time of going to press.


The collaboration comes at a time when India is intensifying its efforts to achieve self-reliance in the mining sector, particularly in the context of critical minerals. While major chunks of foreign capital will be needed to exploit the reserves, India will also require advanced exploration techniques used by Russian firms to discover new mineral reserves, the official said.


It is believed that this cooperation could uncover significant mineral deposits within India, enhancing the country’s resource base and reducing dependency on imports for key minerals.


Officials pointed out that Russia is home to several leading mining companies. Among them, Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel) stands out as one of the world’s largest producers of nickel and palladium, while Alrosa dominates as the world’s largest diamond mining company.


Alrosa recently opened up its representative office in Mumbai on the territory of Bharat Diamond Bourse, according to Invest India. Polyus Gold is the top gold producer in Russia and ranks highly on the global stage.


Other notable companies include Severstal, a major steel and mining firm, and SUEK (Siberian Coal Energy Company), Russia’s largest coal supplier and one of the largest coal producers worldwide. Last year, SUEK said it was in talks to open an office in India.


Mechel and EVRAZ are major players in coal and iron ore mining, with EVRAZ also being a major steel manufacturer. Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company is a leading producer of copper and zinc, and RusAL is one of the world’s largest aluminium producers.


By inviting Russian expertise, India is also opening doors for foreign investment in its mining projects. This influx of capital can drive innovation, boost production, and create numerous job opportunities in the sector.


Quid pro quo


The mining partnership with Russia has major implications for India’s foreign policy push to secure newer sources of energy and minerals. This is because, in return for the mining technologies, Russia is keen on attracting Indian investments in its resource-rich Far Eastern region comprising vast swathes of Siberia, officials at the Ministry of External Affairs said.


Talks have accelerated since Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Vladivostok in 2019 for the Eastern Economic Forum. Back then, the region’s government had said the trade turnover with India in the region increased by more than 20 per cent, a growth that translated into more than $42 million.


Some of India’s largest state-owned and private companies have already begun investing in the region, the official pointed out.


While the largest of these include state-owned oil major ONGC Videsh's 20 per cent stake in the Sakhalin-I oil and gas project, private entities such as Tata Power are developing coal deposits in the Kamchatka Peninsula.


Sun Group is developing the Klyuchevskoy gold deposit in Siberia as part of a joint venture with Chinese and South African firms.


With Moscow requesting India to expand its presence at Vladivostok port, the government is finalising the Chennai-Vladivostok maritime shipping corridor.

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