Australia also has reserves to supply many other critical minerals to India, including antimony, lithium, rare earths and tantalum. Australia`s resources for critical minerals such as antimony, cobalt, lithium, manganese ore, niobium, tungsten and vanadium are in the world`s top 5. “India is determined to develop its relations with Australia more quickly. This is essential not only for our two countries, but also for the Indo-Pacific region and the world,” Modi said in his opening address in Hindi on television. The Australian government is investing both in the exploration of critical minerals through its Critical Minerals portal and in its research capabilities through the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre to increase knowledge and use of these minerals in future battery technology. Compared to other countries, Australia has significant critical natural resources and resources: “The MoU identifies areas where Australia and India will work together to meet the needs of the future economy in terms of raw materials, particularly the increase in global demand for critical minerals,” he said. Keith Pitt, the Minister of Resources, Water and Northern Australia, said in a June 4 statement that the agreement focused on ways to increase trade, investment and research and development in critical minerals between the two countries. Australia has moderate to high geological potential in 24 minerals, considered critical by many countries, and has the potential to be a key supplier. In November 2019, Australia partnered with the United States to fund critical minerals and rare earths projects. Geological and material sciences are still not popular areas of research. Critical minerals have not been one of the main areas of Indian inland mining exploration. As a result, the two countries could bring together players from the government ecosystem, businesses and education to meet the new demands of the energy transition.
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is one of the largest mineral research groups in the world. “CSIRO works with the mineral exploration, processing and cleaning, battery design and manufacturing industry.” Australia has the potential to become one of the leading suppliers of cobalt and zircone in India and has reserves to supply other critical minerals such as antimony, lithium, rare earths and tantalum, according to the statement. India should be interested in its model of resource diplomacy (joint venture, Khanij Bidesh India Ltd. (KABIL) for the identification, acquisition, exploration, development, extraction and processing of strategic minerals abroad for commercial purposes – focus on responsible supply of critical minerals – and a special free trade agreement with Australia (which focuses on investments and launch opportunities in critical minerals to ensure future deliveries. Perhaps pushed by governments, public and private companies into critical minerals to identify commercial opportunities). The critical minerals free trade agreement between the two countries can address the risk of the concentration of these minerals, prevent disruptions to the supply chain due to the crisis, promote research and development on critical minerals, and explore opportunities for foreign investment and strategic acquisitions. A specific free trade agreement will also be a positive step towards updating and informing about political changes and reforms in this sector and will allow for regular engagement. The two sides also signed three joint agreements on public administration cooperation and governance reform, cooperation in vocational training and water resource management.