On the heels of the discovery of a significant rare earths find in Madagascar announced by Mumbai-based Varun Industries earlier this month, the Indian government has been quick to lock up a purchase agreement with the Madagascar unit of the company, Varun Energy Corp. According to the memorandum of understanding, Varun Energy Corp. will sell all its heavy minerals concentrate mined in Madagascar to a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the Indian Department of Atomic Energy.
The Indian government’s move is consistent with its efforts to secure access to strategic metals and minerals, including rare earths, which are critical for its burgeoning industrial sectors. As India competes with other fast-growing and resource-hungry nations like China for the world’s natural resources, expect to see more deals like this one. The question U.S. policy makers should ask themselves is: Are we doing enough to secure our own strategic and economic future?