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India's state-owned KABIL signs $24 million lithium exploration deal in Argentina

BENGALURU (Reuters) - India's state-owned firm Khanij Bidesh India Ltd (KABIL) signed a 2 billion-rupee ($24 million) lithium exploration pact for five blocks in Argentina, the federal Ministry of Mines said on Monday.

"The project will help India strengthen lithium supplies, while developing lithium mining and downstream sectors of both the countries," mines minister Pralhad Joshi said in a post on X.

India, among the world's top greenhouse gas emitters, has been pursuing overseas pacts to secure key minerals in resource-rich countries such as Australia, Argentina and Chile.

The deal, signed with an Argentinian state-run enterprise, gives KABIL exploration and developmental rights for commercial production.

India's top bureaucrat in the mining ministry, V L Kantha Rao, had said in December that the country was in preliminary discussions with Bolivia to acquire lithium assets.

($1 = 82.8330 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Varun Vyas and Neha Arora; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)