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Minerals Security Partnership

Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) is a new US-led partnership initiative of 11 nations that aims to bolster critical mineral supply chains.

Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) is an ambitious new alliance formed by the US to secure supply chains of critical minerals.

The US and 10 partners – Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the European Commission – have come together to form the MSP.

This partnership was formed due to the massive supply-chain disruptions caused by the global ‘China-plus-one’ strategy adopted post the Covid-19 pandemic.

MSP was formed in order to break the dominance and reduce dependence on China in mining and processing rare earth minerals.

The goal of the alliance is to ensure that critical minerals are produced, processed, and recycled in a manner that supports the ability of countries to realise the full economic development benefit of their geological endowments.

The focus would be on the supply chains of minerals such as Cobalt, Nickel, Lithiumand also the 17 rare earth minerals.

MSP is aimed at catalysing investmentfrom governments and the private sector to develop strategic opportunities that adhere to the highest environmental, social, and governance standards.

India is not part of the MSP, but New Delhi is working through diplomatic channels to fetch an entry.

Importance of the minerals – Minerals like Cobalt, Nickel, and Lithium are required for batteries used in electric vehicles.

REEs are an essential – although often tiny – component of more than 200 consumer products, including mobile phones, hard drives, electric and hybrid vehicles, flatscreen monitors, high-end electronics, etc.

According to a report released by the International Energy Agency in 2021 and subsequently updated in March 2022, the major producers of critical minerals globally are Chile, Indonesia, Congo, China, Australia and South Africa.

Rare Earth Elements

    • The Rare earth elements (REE) include 17 elements. They are,
      1. The 15 Lanthanides (atomic numbers 57 – which is Lanthanum – to 71 in the periodic table)
      2. Scandium (atomic number 21) and
      3. Yttrium (atomic number 39).
    • REEs are classified as
      1. Light RE elements (LREE) and
      2. Heavy RE elements (HREE).
    • Some REEs are available in India — such as Lanthanum, Cerium, Neodymium, Praseodymium and Samarium, etc.
    • Others such as Dysprosium, Terbium, and Europium, which are classified as HREEs, are not available in Indian deposits in extractable quantities.
  • Hence, there is a dependence on countries such as China for HREEs, which is one of the leading producers of REEs, with an estimated 70% share of the global production.

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