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In what could prove to be a big boost to India’s Electronic Vehicle and net-zero carbon emission dreams, the geological survey of India found 5.9 million tonnes of lithium reserves in Jammu and Kashmir.
Lithium, a non-ferrous metal, is a key component in EV batteries. This discovery of a significant lithium deposit could well prove to be a major development that could help reduce India’s dependence on the import of EV batteries, laptops, mobile phones, etc. The reserves can help cater to India’s lithium demand for its growing EV industry. So far, India has depended on Australia and Argentina for lithium imports.
During the 62nd Central Geological Programming Board (CGPB) meeting held on February 9, 2023, GSI handed over a report, including 35 geological memorandums, to respective state governments. According to the Ministry of Mines, 51 mineral blocks of gold and commodities like potash, molybdenum, and base metals were spread across 11 states of Jammu & Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha,
The Central Geological Programming Board (CGPB) is a platform of the Geological Survey of India (GSI), Ministry of Mines where the Annual Field Season Program (FSP) of GSI is placed for discussion for synergy and to avoid duplication of work. The members of CGPB and other stakeholders like various state governments, central and state government mineral exploration agencies, PSUs, and private entrepreneurs place their requests for collaborative work with GSI.
This is for the first time that GSI has established lithium inferred resources (G3) of 5.9 million tons in the Salal-Haimana area of Reasi District of Jammu & Kashmir (UT). This report along with 15 other resource-bearing geological reports (G2 & G3 stage) were handed over to respective state governments during the CGPB meeting. “Out of these 51 mineral blocks, 5 blocks pertain to gold and other blocks pertain to commodities like potash, molybdenum, and base metals spread across 11 states of Jammu & Kashmir (UT), Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana. The blocks were prepared based on the work carried out by GSI from field seasons 2018-19 to till date,” said the Ministry of Mines in a statement.
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 discovery of lithium in Jammu and Kashmir is not the element’s first discovery in the nation. In 2021, much smaller deposits of lithium were found in the southern state of Karnataka. In addition to that, the government is also running a Lithium exploration program in several other states including Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir, and Rajasthan.
Lithium is a very light and highly reactive and alkaline metal. It is mainly used in ceramics and glasses, greases, pharmaceutical compounds, air conditioners, and aluminum production, etc. However, its main use is in the battery due to its highest energy storage capacity per kilogram. Its high energy storage capacity combined with its extremely light weight makes it a perfect choice for electric car makers like Tesla.
The proposed Annual Program for the ensuing field season 2023-24 was presented and discussed during the meeting. During the ensuing year 2023-24, GSI is taking up 966 programs comprising 318 mineral exploration projects including 12 marine mineral investigation projects.
A major thrust has been given to 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 programs on geoinformatics, 140 programs on fundamental and multidisciplinary geosciences, and 155 programs for training and institutional capacity building have also been taken up.
During his address to the gathering, Shri Vivek Bharadwaj, Secretary, Ministry of Mines and Chairman CGPB, congratulated GSI on realizing the commitment made by the Central Government for the auction of 500 blocks.