by Maleeha Sofi
SRINAGAR: Ministry of Mines announced the discovery of 5.9 million tonnes of Lithium by the geological survey of India on Thursday. Lithium is discovered for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir, in the Salal Haimana area of the Reasi district. Mines are at the preliminary stage of exploration known as G3.
Lithium is a non-ferrous metal used in batteries, mobile phones, watches, solar panels, and electric vehicles. Lithium has low density, a high energy-to-weight ratio, and stores large amounts of energy. Lithium is found in a crystalline form alongside rocks and other mineral deposits in the Earth’s crust. It makes up 0.002 per cent of the Earth’s crust. It is then refined to transform into metal form. It is commercially sold in metal form.
Union Minister of Coal, Mines, and Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi addressed the 62nd Central Geological Programming Board (CGPB) meeting on February 9, 2023. The Geological Survey of India (GSI) organised the meeting under the Ministry of Mines. During the meeting, Vivek Bharadwaj, secretary of the Ministry of Mines handed 51 mining block reports and memorandums to State Governments which included two geological reports of the lithium blocks to Jammu and Kashmir Mining Secretary, Amit Sharma. “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,” the ministry said.
A news report quoted Sharma saying, “Jammu and Kashmir has made history in the mining sector with the discovery of critical mineral lithium.” “Lithium blocks which are a rare thing and much demanded global manor mineral for electric batteries which is the future, shall be explored and eAuctioned so that J&K figures on the global map so far as availability of Lithium reserves in the world are concerned,” he added.
India imports Lithium from Australia and Argentina. India imports the second highest quantity of lithium at 198 thousand shipments through 4,509 importers from 7283 suppliers. Chile reserves the highest quantity of lithium at 9.2 million tonnes followed by Australia and Argentina at 5.7 million tonnes and 2.2 million tonnes respectively. China refines almost 75 per cent of the world’s total lithium.
At the 62nd CGPB meeting, Bharadwaj said that critical minerals are needed everywhere, whether it be for a solar panel or a cell phone and it is crucial for the nation to identify key minerals and then process them in order to become self-sufficient.
The discovery of lithium in such high quantities is believed to fulfil India’s plan to expand EV penetration by 30 per cent by 2030 as it is a key component of electric vehicles. Currently, less than 1 per cent of the new cars sold in India are electric. Lithium can boost the manufacture of electric vehicles, hence leading to a decrease in carbon emissions.