On 16th February, the Geological Survey Of India discovered 5.9 million tonnes Lithium in Jammu and Kashmir. Up to now, India has relied on importing lithium from Australia and Argentina. Lithium is a crucial component of battery packs, which power many devices, including electric vehicles, computers, and smartphones.
According to experts, India's plans to expand the number of privately owned electric vehicles by 30% by 2030 as part of measures to reduce carbon emissions to combat global warming may benefit from the revelation.
According to the Indian Ministry of Mines, the Geological Survey of India discovered lithium deposits in the Salal-Haimana region of the Reasi district in Jammu and Kashmir. Significantly smaller lithium resources were discovered in the southern state of Karnataka in 2021.
The government has previously stated that it was searching for sources in India and overseas to increase its supply of rare earth metals required to advance innovative technologies.
The need for rare metals, particularly lithium, has grown globally as nations strive to implement cleaner solutions to halt climate change. Bolivia has the greatest lithium deposits in the world, with an estimated 21 million tonnes, and China agreed to invest $1 billion (£807 million) in their development in 2023. The World Bank estimates that to achieve the global climate goals by 2050, mining essential minerals would need to expand by 500%.
However, according to experts, lithium extraction is not environmentally beneficial. Australia, Chile, and Argentina have the highest concentrations of subterranean brine reservoirs and hard rocks from which lithium is recovered.
Following mining, it is burned using fossil fuels, scorching the environment and causing scarring behind. Additionally, the extraction process necessitates much water and produces much carbon dioxide discharged into the environment.
A significant quantity of water is required to remove it from the subterranean reservoir, many of which are situated in water-scarce Argentina. This has sparked objections from indigenous people who claim that such activities are depleting natural resources and causing severe consequences of water shortage.
Due to its rapid EV adoption, India is quickly growing to be one of the largest countries in the EV business.The primary challenge, however, was importing Lithium for the battery pack from other nations. Now India is independent. It has likely achieved self-sufficiency in the EV world as well after discovering the lithium mine. However, the process of mining to make batteries is a little complicated. 90% of the refining process is still happening in China. So finding a mine is just a foundation step, the question for the bigger picture is, If India can integrate its entire mining into battery making process in India?
It is the first-ever Lithium mine found in the country. It is just the start of the biggest EV revolution, it seems. Currently, the mining stage is estimated in the preliminary exploration stage (G3), and it will take a lot of work to proceed the resources belt to the G1 Level.
Going ahead, the social & economic conditions have to be ascertained before declaring it a proven & probable reserve. There are 26 million tonnes of lithium reserves globally. And more than 98 million tonnes are identified resources explored.
Australia is the leading Lithium producer and has mined over 61000 tonnes of Lithium from a global sum of around 130000 tonnes in 2022.
Even if India can mine around a million tonnes of commercially feasible Lithium from its reserve, it will be groundbreaking news for the EV revolution in India