The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has for the first time identified the availability of an inferred lithium resource of 5.9 million tonnes at Reasi’s Salal-Haimana prospect in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir (UT) – a discovery of strategic importance and an ongoing project It will go a long way toward addressing the shortage of lithium, a key component of lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs) and other rechargeable devices.
The discovery made India the seventh-largest lithium resource country in the world. However, turning that into a reserve will take time.
India is currently heavily dependent on lithium imports and the vital non-ferrous metal has large reserves in the US, Australia, Chile, China, Argentina and Bolivia.
The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has recently disrupted supplies, making the mineral costly. Of the world’s 98 million tonnes of lithium resources, only 26 million tonnes are processed as reserves—that is, available for use.
Senior programme lead, Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), Rishabh Jain said-
Lithium-ion battery demand will grow exponentially in the power and transport sectors. Globally, there are 98 million tonnes of Lithium resources and we (India) have found 5.5% of the total resources. If some of these resources can be converted to reserves, it would help us meet our domestic demand and also supply to the world,
India’s request for a PLI scheme for the battery that is valued at ₹.18,100 crores, would lead to the creation of battery cell manufacturing in India.
Referring to the discovery, Siddharth Goel, senior policy advisor at the International Institute for Sustainable Development, said, “
International experience shows that environment permitting and mine development can take 10 years or more. In the short-term, India still needs a strategy to source critical minerals, for its 2030 clean energy and EV targets.
Global totals, as reported by the US Geological Survey, indicate that Bolivia has the greatest amount of Lithium resources: 21 million tonnes. Argentina has 20 million tonnes, 12 million tonnes in the U.S., 11 million tonnes in Chile, 7.9 million tonnes in Australia, 6.8 million tonnes in China, 5.9 million tonnes in India (as discovered by the GSI) and 3.2 million tonnes in Germany.
Other than EVs, lithium is also crucial to harnessing solar and wind power, both of which are integral parts of India’s pursuit of a low-carbon growth path that will lead to carbon neutrality (a goal of net zero emission by 2070).
The GSI’s recognition of Lithium deposits in Jammu & Kashmir was announced during its 62nd Central Geological Programming Board (CGPB). Other than Lithium reserves, the GSI during its field trip during 2018-19 also discovered blocks of different other minerals including five gold blocks in different states.
Of the 51 mineral blocks that have yet to be discovered, other blocks concern commodities like potassium, molybdenum, base metals, etc. that are distributed across Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.
on Thursday the ministry of mines stated
Apart from these, 17 reports of coal and lignite with a total resource of 7,897 million tones were also handed over to the ministry of coal.,
During the ensuing year 2023-24, GSI is taking up 966 programmes comprising 318 mineral exploration projects including 12 marine mineral investigation projects. Major thrust has been given on the exploration of strategic – critical and fertilizer minerals. A total of 115 projects on strategic & critical minerals including 16 projects on fertilizer minerals have been formulated.
“In addition, 55 programmes on geoinformatics, 140 programmes on fundamental and multidisciplinary geosciences and 155 programmes for training and institutional capacity building have also been taken up.”