Source: Coal India Exploring Lithium Assets in Argentina with US Firm

FILE PHOTO: Brine pools used to extract lithium are seen next to a lithium mining camp at the Salar del Rincon salt flat, in Salta, Argentina August 12, 2021. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Brine pools used to extract lithium are seen next to a lithium mining camp at the Salar del Rincon salt flat, in Salta, Argentina August 12, 2021. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian/File Photo
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Source: Coal India Exploring Lithium Assets in Argentina with US Firm

FILE PHOTO: Brine pools used to extract lithium are seen next to a lithium mining camp at the Salar del Rincon salt flat, in Salta, Argentina August 12, 2021. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Brine pools used to extract lithium are seen next to a lithium mining camp at the Salar del Rincon salt flat, in Salta, Argentina August 12, 2021. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian/File Photo

State-run Coal India Ltd is exploring lithium blocks in Argentina along with a US company to secure supplies of the battery material, an Indian source with direct knowledge said on Tuesday.
The efforts are part of India's membership under the US-led Minerals Security Partnership (MSP), which New Delhi joined last year to ensure adequate supplies of minerals to meet zero-carbon goals.
India has been exploring ways to secure supplies of lithium, a critical raw material used to make electric vehicle batteries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government last year listed 30 minerals, including lithium, nickel, titanium, vanadium and tungsten, as critical to drive the adoption of clean energy.
India and the United States said on Monday they were co-investing in a lithium resource project in South America and a rare earths deposit in Africa to diversify critical minerals supply chains.
India has been in talks with several countries, including the US, to collaborate in lithium processing and avoid relying on China, Reuters had reported. The rare
"Coal India has come forward for the Kachi block in Argentina in which a US company and two other countries are interested to explore under the MSP," the source said, declining to be identified due to the sensitive nature of discussions.
Preliminary studies are being conducted, the source added.
Australian miner Lake Resources, which has a lithium project in Kachi, is targeting 50 kilotons of annual battery-grade lithium from the project by 2030.
Coal India shares turned positive after the Reuters report, rising as much as 1.2% before trimming gains to trade 0.3% higher.
Shares of the company had been down 0.2% before the news.
In February, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on a trip to Argentina that the US was exploring investment opportunities in critical minerals, especially lithium.
Coal India and India's federal Ministry of Mines did not immediately respond to Reuters' emails for comments.
Under the minerals partnership, which India had joined last year, New Delhi was invited to participate in 20-25 critical minerals projects, of which four have been identified by the Indian government, with two of these are in collaboration with the US, the source said.
The second project is in the Kangankunde block in Malawi, the source said, which is being explored by India's state-owned IREL (India) Ltd for rare earths.
IREL did not immediately respond to a Reuters email seeking comments.
The Indian government has also asked miners to explore critical minerals in Australia's Dubbo region, the source said.
India had also proposed a critical minerals trade deal with US, which would prohibit imposition of tariffs on both countries by each other and would be similar to a pact US has with Japan that grants Japanese automakers wider access to US electrical vehicles tax credit, the source said.
However, the US is in talks with India for a bilateral Critical Minerals Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), both countries said on Monday.



Egypt Raises Domestic Fuel Prices by up to 15% before IMF Review

This picture taken on March 20, 2024 shows a view of the Cairo University bridge across the Nile river connecting Cairo (R) with its twin city of Giza (L). (AFP)
This picture taken on March 20, 2024 shows a view of the Cairo University bridge across the Nile river connecting Cairo (R) with its twin city of Giza (L). (AFP)
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Egypt Raises Domestic Fuel Prices by up to 15% before IMF Review

This picture taken on March 20, 2024 shows a view of the Cairo University bridge across the Nile river connecting Cairo (R) with its twin city of Giza (L). (AFP)
This picture taken on March 20, 2024 shows a view of the Cairo University bridge across the Nile river connecting Cairo (R) with its twin city of Giza (L). (AFP)

Egypt raised the prices of a wide range of fuel products on Thursday, the official gazette said, four days before the International Monetary Fund (IMF) conducts a third review of its expanded $8 billion loan program for the country.

The official gazette, citing the petroleum ministry, said petrol prices increased by up to 15% per litre, with 80 octane rising to 12.25 Egyptian pounds ($0.25), 92 octane to 13.75 pounds and 95 octane to 15 pounds.

Diesel, one of the most commonly used fuels, saw the biggest increase, rising to 11.50 Egyptian pounds ($0.24) from 10 pounds, according to Reuters.

This is the second time the government has raised fuel prices since the IMF expanded its loan program by $5 billion in March. Egypt has committed to slashing fuel subsidies as part of the agreement.

But Egyptians who spoke to Reuters, including taxi driver Sayed Abdo, complained that Thursday's move would mean an automatic increase in prices for daily goods.

"If you ride with me today and usually pay 10 Egyptian pounds, I will ask you for 15, because fuel prices are raised. That's normal, because when I go get food, what I used to buy with 10 Egyptian pounds becomes now for 15," he said.

"We don't know where we're headed with these prices."

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said prices of petroleum products will gradually increase until the end of 2025, adding that the government could no longer bear the burden of increasing consumption.

Egyptians have also endured blackouts, which Madbouly said had ended at the start of this week, as the country struggled to import sufficient natural gas to tackle the summer heat.

In April, the IMF estimated that Egypt will spend 331 billion Egyptian pounds ($6.85 billion) on fuel subsidies in 2024/25 and 245 billion in 2025/26.

The IMF's approval for the third review of the expanded loan program was originally expected on July 10, but was pushed back to July 29, with the lender attributing the delay to the finalisation of some policy details.

The IMF is expected to disburse $820 million to Egypt after concluding its review.