India Digging For Lithium For 5 Years, Confident It Has Huge Reserves
NEW DELHI, (IANS) – The recent announcement by India about the discovery of the largest reserves of lithium in the country has triggered a lot of hope and curiosity.
While nearly 5.9 million tons of lithium reserves have been discovered in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir, in the last five years, the Geological Survey of India (GSI), has carried out 20 projects on lithium and associated elements in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Rajasthan.
Till the beginning of 2023, Reasi district in Jammu and Kashmir was known only for the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine situated on the Trikuta Hills, where millions of devotees pay obeisance each year.
Hardly could anyone imagine that the sleepy Salal village located in the backyard of Reasi district would rise to a global dawn in 2023.
On February 9, 2023, the ministry of mines said it has discovered huge deposits of lithium, 5.9 million tons in Salal village of Reasi district. The discovery of lithium in Salal village has an interesting history.
A team of the Geological Survey of India (GSI) reached Salal village, 77 km from Jammu city, in 2018 to collect samples for the identification of different minerals.
The team stayed in Salal village and kept collecting samples for research, investigation and processing. After more than four years of sustained sample collection, testing, and re-testing of collected samples the team of miners discovered that they had hit the jackpot.
The team found that the area where lithium deposits are located is 6 km long and 3 km wide. With the estimated 5.9 million tonnes of reserves in Salal, India will have the fifth-largest lithium reserves in the world, ahead of the US.
The discovery is vital as it comes at a time when India is going all out for a green transition in transportation, where electric vehicle adoption has become a national priority.
The discovery is a boost for the government’s Make in India program as lithium is used in the batteries that power EVs, mobile phones and other applications.
The entire village will be used for mining and the inhabitants living in hundreds of residential houses will be shifted and rehabilitated by the government with all the modern facilities including education, healthcare, recreation, sports, community welfare etc.
Salal village has a population of 8,000 living in around 2,500 houses.
India has been importing lithium from different countries, including China, Australia, and Argentina.
In 2021, smaller deposits of lithium were found in Karnataka, but the recent discovery of this large deposit in Reasi will be a boon for India’s battery production plans as the country is exploring green solutions to problems created by climate change, etc.
With battery manufacturing expected to accelerate over the coming years, particularly as electric vehicles become more prevalent in key markets seeking to decarbonize, interest in the metal will continue to grow and analysts expect worldwide demand will more than double by 2024.