In a first, India discovers lithium reserves in J&K
10 February, 2023 | Archana Raj
The Geological Survey of India (GSI), for the first time announced its first significant discovery of reserves of lithium in the country. Lithium mineral has high energy density and is used in the ...
The Geological Survey of India (GSI), for the first time announced its first significant discovery of reserves of lithium in the country.
Lithium mineral has high energy density and is used in the production of batteries used in electric vehicles, smartphones, and other electronic equipment. The latest discovery can power India’s EV revolution. Earlier, as per the Ministry of Mines, supplies of lithium was made from Australia and Argentina.
The government said on Thursday that 5.9m tonnes of the mineral had been discovered in Jammu and Kashmir.
Experts say that the discovery could aid India’s push to increase the number of private electric cars by 30% by 2030, as part of efforts to cut carbon emissions to tackle global warming. The Geological Survey of India found the lithium reserves in the Salal-Haimana area of Reasi district in Jammu and Kashmir, India’s Ministry of Mines said.
In 2021, much smaller deposits of the mineral were found in the southern state of Karnataka. Earlier, the government had said that it was looking to improve its supply of rare metals needed to boost new technologies and was looking for sources in India and abroad.
Vivek Bharadwaj, Ministry of Mines secretary, stated that India had been “re-orienting its exploration measures” to meet this goal.
Around the world the demand for rare metals, including lithium, has increased as countries look to adopt greener solutions to slow down climate change. In 2023, China signed a $1bn (£807m) deal to develop Bolivia’s vast lithium reserves, which are estimated at 21m tonnes and the largest in the world. According to the World Bank, mining of crucial minerals will need to increase by 500% to meet global climate targets by 2050.
However, experts say that the process of mining lithium is not environment-friendly. Lithium is extracted from hard rocks and underground brine reservoirs largely found in Australia, Chile and Argentina.
After the mineral is mined, it is roasted using fossil fuels, searing the landscape and leaving behind scars. The extraction process also requires a lot of water and releases large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
To extract it from underground reservoirs, many of which are found in water-scarce Argentina – a large amount of water is used, leading to protests from indigenous communities, who say that such activity is exhausting natural resources and leading to acute water shortages.