The Geological Survey of India said Thursday that it has found lithium deposits for the first time in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Lithium deposits found in Reasi
According to a statement, GSI said it found 5.9 million tonnes of inferred lithium resources in the Reasi district. It said inferred lithium (G3) resources of 5.9 million tonnes have been found in the Salal-Haimana area of Reasi.
Lithium deposits are very critical for India as the government has focused on electric cars.
J&K is expected to go ahead with the electronic auction of two large limestone ore blocks located in the Rajouri and Poonch districts and to advance the completion of lithium availability at J&K within a specified time frame.
Akshay Kashyap, MD, Greenfuel Energy Solutions Pvt. Ltd. on the ‘Lithium reserves found in J&K said “Lithium reserves discovered by the Geological Survey of India (GSI) in Jammu and Kashmir is one of the most crucial metals that is currently used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries”.
He added “India currently imports around 70 per cent of its lithium requirement from countries like China and Hong Kong. By exploiting the potential of the lithium reserves in J&K, India could reduce its dependence on foreign countries making us truly ‘Atmanirbhar’, while also creating jobs, generating revenue, and furthering its renewable energy ambitions”.
“India’s plan to increase EV penetration by 30% by 2030 relies heavily on lithium. Therefore, this vital discovery by GSI can help boost the production of lithium-ion batteries and will put India on track to reaching its goal of net zero emissions by 2070” Akshay Kashyap further added.
What is Lithium?
Lithium is a chemical element. Under ordinary conditions, it is the lightest metal and the lowest-density solid substance in nature. Chemically, it is a member of the alkali metal group and is extremely reactive like other alkali metals. Which means that lithium reacts quickly with other substances. Because of its high reactivity, it is never found in nature in pure form but only in the form of compounds with other elements.
Rajendra Singh, a member of the panchayat, said: “The survey team after conducting the exercise for almost two years. Before they brought all the machinery (for inspection) by road. The team identified almost 100 points where lithium can be found. The survey report was sent to Lucknow and finally the good news was shared with the people here. The locals have welcomed the news as it would offer them great employment opportunities.”
Another Salal local said: “I watched in disbelief as TV channels broadcast news about the lithium discovery in the Salal region. We are delighted and very lucky. Salal people have a bright future now. I am confident that unemployment will be reduced in the region”.
High demand for electric batteries
Reasi District to Secretary Mining J&K Amit Sharma said that all necessary steps will be taken in collaboration with the Geological Survey of India and the department’s decimated teams will be working around the clock to ensure that these historic eAuction feet of major mineral blocks are brought to fruition out in a while bound manner.
“Lithium blocks, which are a rare thing and a world-class mineral in high demand for electric batteries, which is the future, will be explored and auctioned to put J&K on the global map when it comes to lithium reserve availability in the world,” he said.
Meanwhile, the district minerals officer, Reasi Shafiq Ahmad, said bauxite was present in a composite form and lithium was also discovered during its further processing, News agency KNO reported.
“GSI has now approved it and it will be auctioned after lithium reserves are found. We had also explored it before, but now this time it has been approved by GSI,” he said.
He added that it will now be auctioned at the national and UT level, since it is an important mineral and has been found for the first time in the country.
According to US Geological Survey data, show that Bolivia has the highest 21 million tons of identified lithium resources, followed by 20 million tons in Argentina, 12 million tons in the US, and 20 million tons in Argentina. USA, 11 million tons in Chile, 7.9 million tons in Australia, 6.8 million tons in China, 5.9 million tons in India (as discovered by GSI) and 3.2 million tons in Germany.
|Countries||Reserves (in tonnes)||Production (in tonnes)|
|Chile||9.3 million||0.39 million|
|Australia||6.2 million||0.61 million|
|Argentina||2.7 million||0.06 million|
|China||2 million||0.19 million|
Discovery of Lithium: Why is it critical?
Lithium deposits are critical for India as the country focuses on electric mobility for public and private transport, especially in the country’s major cities.
The Ministry of Mines is the ministry in the Government of India that stated that 51 mineral blocks, including lithium and gold, have been handed over to the respective state governments.
Of the 51 mineral blocks, 5 blocks are gold. Other blocks belong to raw materials such as potash, molybdenum and base metals distributed in Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.
The blocks were prepared based on work done by GSI from the 2018-19 field seasons to date.
Apart from these, 17 Coal and Brown Coal reports with a total resource of 7897 million tons were also delivered to the Ministry of Coal. During the meeting, seven publications were also launched on different topics and areas of intervention in which GSI operates.
India depends on imports of lithium
It is estimated that more than Rs 165 crores of lithium batteries were imported into India between FY 2017 and FY 20, with an estimated import bill of more than USD 3.3 billion.
Speaking at the 62nd meeting of the Central Geological Programming Board (CGPB) on February 9, Union Mines Ministry Secretary Vivek Bharadwaj said that the GSI has found lithium reserves in Jammu and Kashmir for the first time and which has established inferred lithium resources at the Salal-Haimana area of Reasi district of J&K.
Earlier, the mines ministry had said that to strengthen the supply chain of critical minerals for emerging technologies, the government was taking several proactive steps to secure minerals, including lithium, from Australia and Argentina.
Currently, China and Australia are the major suppliers of lithium worldwide. Due to their huge lithium reserves, they also do their arbitrarily. Now after the discovery of lithium reserves in India as well, India’s dependence on these will be slightly less.
Road to India’s zero carbon emission
During the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed to reduce India’s emissions to net zero by 2070.
By the year 2047, the Central Government has a plan to make India completely self-sufficient in the field of energy, on the other hand, by the year 2030, the Ministry of Energy has made extensive plans to get electricity from the planned renewable capacity.
To do this, the government is continuously promoting solar energy. Whether it’s mobile phones or solar panels, lithium is needed everywhere. The availability of lithium in the country will also help achieve the central government’s goal of being self-sufficient in the energy sector.
Why is lithium so important and what is it for?
The Royal Society of Chemistry indicates that lithium is of great importance because it is used in the production of rechargeable batteries for mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras and electric vehicles. In addition, lithium is also used in non-rechargeable batteries for pacemakers, toys, and watches.
Once combined with aluminum and magnesium, lithium becomes a stronger and lighter material. Magnesium-lithium alloy is used for armor plating, while aluminium-lithium alloys are used in aircraft and high-speed trains. Lithium chloride is used in air conditioning and industrial drying systems.
Lithium carbonate is used in medications to treat depression, although how it works in the brain is not yet understood by experts. It is worth mentioning that it also has nuclear applications.
In today’s time, there would hardly be anyone who has not heard the name of Lithium Ion Battery. These batteries are used in almost every battery operated device and the basic component of these batteries is Lithium. Lithium-ion batteries have a higher capacity and a longer life than batteries based on other chemical reactions.
Lithium is one of the most versatile elements and is used in a long list of industries, which explains its importance and the increase in demand.
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