KOLKATA (miningweekly.com) – India is preparing the groundwork to sign a slew of bilateral agreements with Argentina encompassing nuclear energy, and the mining of copper, lithium and cobalt during the visit of Argentine President Mauricio Marci, next month.
The Argentine President will be leading a high-level business delegation to New Delhi in February, and hold meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Indian foreign office mandarins would also be addressing Indian business leaders in Mumbai.
The Indian foreign office was working to lay down drafts of a number of bilateral trade agreements and a roadmap for collaborations with government-owned companies aiming to achieve an incremental export boost of $1.5-billion, up from $700-million at present, government officials here said.
The officials said that the focus on India-Argentina talks would be the strengthening of the 121-member International Solar Alliance - the brain-child of Prime Minister Modi - in which both countries were members, and which promotes South-South cooperation in the renewable energy sector.
It was pointed out that any uptick in renewable energy as well as the Indian push toward electric mobility solutions hinged on the storage battery and the country’s lack of critical inputs like lithium and cobalt could be addressed through greater collaboration with Argentina, part of the so-called “Lithium Triangle”.
While the Marci-led government has opened itself up to foreign direct investment (FDI) in its mining sector, the Indian foreign office is expecting to conclude agreements during Marci’s forthcoming visit that would likely be followed by Indian mining companies investing in the mining sector in Argentina.
In fact, the newly approved joint ventures of Indian State-run mineral companies – National Aluminium Company, Hindustan Copper and Mineral Exploration Corporation – christened Khanij Bidesh, or Kabil, were preparing a team to visit Argentina next month, to follow up any bilateral agreement that might be concluded during the Argentine President’s India visit.
Other areas of bilateral cooperation included the oil and gas sector and proposed agreements would aim for greater access for ONGC Videsh, the overseas arm of India’s national exploration and production (E&P) major, ONGC, in the Argentine energy sector. OVL already had an existing agreement with YPF, the Argentine E&P major, for exploration of several blocks in the Latin American nation.