Critical minerals and the role of India-Australia partnership in global energy transition: exploring industrial development, risks and opportunities.

About this project

Project description

A key pillar that underpins India’s energy transition is an uninterrupted and economically robust supply of critical and strategic minerals. At the same time, India is aspiring to be a ‘global manufacturing hub’, and help the world economy diversify away from an ongoing dependence on China for the bulk of global mineral processing.

Australia and India recently announced a Critical Minerals Investment Partnership that will ensure cooperation on development of critical minerals projects and supply chains. As the world’s largest lithium producer and with significant cobalt deposits, Australia is looking to harness its rich supply of resources to cater to growing demand for, and processing of, minerals in countries such as India. But these are not the only factors explaining these shifts. Russia’s war on Ukraine, China’s monopoly on critical mineral processing, geopolitical tensions in the Indo-Pacific region and a new government in Australia that has committed to advance relations with India are other critical factors that have informed the timing and scale of this Investment Partnership.

This project aims to study key macro trends (including, but not limited to: industrial development, trade, global commodity prices, supply and demand dynamics, climate change and regional geopolitical shifts) that will inform how this Partnership evolves, including resulting risks and opportunities.

The main research question is: what are the factors and implications of the Indo-Australian Critical Minerals Investment Partnership that enables energy transition, while meeting the industrial and economic developmental needs of both countries? This will require specifically, considering issues such as factors that influence the supply and demand of critical minerals, role and conditions of Australia’s supply of critical minerals to help advance India’s climate goals, and global economic trends in the coming decade.
The project will employ a mixed-methods approach consisting of both quantitative (e.g., exploratory data analysis, econometrics) and qualitative (e.g., expert interviews, survey) tools. The research will be built on critically assessed existing theoretical and analytical frameworks.


We expect the project to contribute to growing scholarship on energy transitions and economic development.

Specifically, the project will lead to:
– Two academic papers in high-impact journals such as Energy Policy, Business and Society, and Energy Research and Social Science.
– A regional atlas of critical mineral value chains relevant to India
– A white paper on ‘Global trends influencing India’s access to critical minerals’ to be presented to various stakeholders, including political leadership (MPs MLAs, regional leaders), bureaucrats in relevant ministries and geographies, and business leaders in coal regions.

Information for applicants

Essential capabilities

Some prior knowledge of global/ macro trend analysis is expected. Knowledge of GIS and basic statistical tools for data analysis will also be useful. Strong communication skills along with an understanding of mixed-methods approach to research (qualitative/ quantitative social science).

Desireable capabilities

Past research experience as a research assistant on a project. Past experience in handling large datasets.

Expected qualifications (Course/Degrees etc.)

It is expected that the student would be broadly interested in the topic of energy transitions and macro-/global- economy. Background in economics, public policy, business studies, international relations and social science (including political science, development, human geography) will be helpful.

Project supervisors

Principal supervisors

UQ Supervisor

Dr Vigya Sharma

Sustainable Minerals Institute
IITD Supervisor

Assistant Professor Eri Ikeda

Department of Management Studies