The government of India stated on February 9, 5.9 million tonnes of lithium deposits is discovered in Jammu and Kashmir by the Geographical Survey of India. As per experts, it is one of the largest lithium deposits had been identified for the first time. Lithium deposits were identified during GSI prospecting near Reasi. Lithium is a non-ferrous metal that is an important component in EV batteries. Demand for lithium, nickel, cobalt and other metals used in lithium-ion batteries is increasing as the globe shifts away from gasoline-powered combustion engines.
The Ministry of Mines shared in a tweet “Geological Survey of India for the first time established Lithium inferred resources (G3) of 5.9 million tonnes in the Salal-Haimana area of the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir”. They also added, “Out of these 51 mineral blocks, 5 blocks pertain to gold and other blocks pertain to commodities like potash, molybdenum, base metals, etc. spread across 11 states of Jammu and Kashmir (UT), Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana.”
What is Lithium?
Lithium is a silvery-white, soft, alkali metal chemical element. Lithium, like all alkali metals, is highly reactive and combustible. Heat-resistant glass and ceramics, flux additives for iron, steel and aluminum manufacture, lithium grease lubricants, lithium metal batteries, and lithium-ion batteries are only a handful of the industrial applications for lithium and its compounds.
What is the Hype?
According to previous mining ministry remarks, the government is taking several aggressive initiatives to get minerals, notably lithium, from Australia and Argentina. This is done to strengthen the critical mineral supply chain for emerging technologies. One such emerging technology is Electric Vehicles (EVs). And one of the most important components of EV batteries is lithium.
The central government has announced, $3.4 billion in incentives to accelerate the country’s lagging adoption of EVs, as PMO aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2070.
And the best way to do so is by manufacturing batteries which are also the most expensive component domestically to lower the end product’s cost for the mass market and position the country as a prospective exporter. And this discovery by the Geographical Survey of India can be a big breakthrough in the said plans.
Currently, Reliance Industries Ltd., along with bullion refiner Rajesh Exports Ltd. and scooter producer Ola Electric Mobility Pvt., is scheduled to receive incentives under a $2.3 billion initiative to boost advanced battery cell research and development. Reliance Industries Ltd. is also constructing an EV battery plant as part of a $76 billion clean energy drive.
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India still has a long to go before it can catch up, and it faces stiff competition from other nations like the United States. However, with native 5.9 million tonnes of lithium deposits discovered in Jammu and Kashmir by the Geographical Survey of India, the government can actually and not just theoretically advance its battery production agenda.