Big: New lithium reserves found in Rajasthan, Larger than J&K reserves, claims GSI

The Rajasthan government and the Geological Survey of India (GSI) officials have discovered significant lithium reserves in the Degana municipality of Nagaur district in Rajasthan.

The reserves in Rajasthan are said to contain a much larger quantity of lithium compared to the 5.9 million tonnes recently found in Jammu and Kashmir. Experts believe that these reserves could fulfill about 80% of India’s total lithium demand, which can reduce the country’s reliance on China considerably.

India currently relies entirely on foreign imports, with China being the main source, to meet its lithium requirements. In the period between 2020 and 2021, India imported lithium worth Rs. 6,000 crore, out of which Rs. 3,500 crore worth of lithium was imported from China.

Lithium is a non-ferrous metal that is utilized to manufacture rechargeable batteries for devices like smartphones, laptops, and electric vehicles.

By 2030, India is projected to have 13.92 lakh electric vehicles (EVs) on the roads. The discovery of these lithium reserves is excellent news because they are an absolute replacement for the ores that are currently being extracted from the earth.

The unique aspect of producing lithium-ion batteries for EVs is that once the lithium is extracted, it can be reused indefinitely since the lithium inside the battery packs can be recycled numerous times and utilized in new battery packs.

During a recent interview with TOI Auto, Rajat Verma, the Founder & CEO of Lohum, a company that recycles raw materials used in lithium-ion batteries, stated that when India begins producing 10 million electric vehicles (EVs) annually and recycling the same number of vehicles on a consistent basis, the batteries used in these EVs will eventually be constructed entirely from recycled materials.

This is the optimal scenario that every country aspires to reach. If we accomplish this, we will have accomplished two objectives: firstly, we will have safeguarded our energy supply, and secondly, we will have significantly decreased our carbon emissions since recycling is a less expensive method than extracting minerals from mines.

The projection is that by 2027-28, the world will be producing up to 3,000 GWH of batteries. Given the discovery of these recent lithium reserves, India has the potential to become a significant player in the global supply chain.

The even greater news:

In even more encouraging news, government sources indicate that the lithium reserves discovered in Jammu and Kashmir are superior to those found in other regions.

While the average lithium content found in other areas is 220 parts per million (ppm), the J&K reserves are believed to contain 500 ppm of lithium. This means that mining for lithium in India will yield more with less effort, leading to cost advantages in the long term.

These cost benefits are crucial to sustaining India’s current rate of adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and achieving the net-zero emissions goal by 2070. It is unfeasible for any government to offer subsidies indefinitely, and the FAME II scheme has already begun to display signs of being scaled back.

The domestic supply of lithium will enable manufacturers to maintain affordable prices for their EVs when subsidy schemes are phased out.

(With Input from The Times Of India)

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