The government will invite bids for 20 critical mineral blocks in next two weeks, a top official said on Tuesday.
The 20 critical blocks include lithium and graphite mines, Mines Secretary V L Kantha Rao told reporters here.
"After making the policy on critical minerals, the next step is the auctioning of critical mineral blocks...
"Now we are almost ready to issue the auction notice and in two weeks time we will be issuing an auction notice for auctioning about 20 blocks that are related to critical minerals like lithium and graphite," the secretary said.
He was speaking after the inauguration of the Mining Pavilion at India International Trade Fair (IITF).
The secretary said 10-12 players in the country have the technology to produce and process critical minerals.
Post this auction notice, he said, a workshop will be organised in which all the stakeholders will be brought together and a national-level strategy on mining and processing of critical minerals will be made.
Last month, the Centre had approved royalty rates of three per cent each for lithium and niobium and one per cent for Rare Earth Elements (REEs).
Critical minerals have become important for the nation's economic development and national security.
Lithium and REEs have gained significance keeping in mind the country's commitment towards energy transition and achieving net-zero emission by 2070.
The Centre had earlier said that it is working to launch the first round of the auction of critical and strategic minerals such as lithium, REE, nickel, platinum group of elements, potash, glauconite, phosphorite, graphite and molybdenum shortly.