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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Discovery of lithium in J&K’s Reasi district to boost Make in India program

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The finding of lithium, which is used in the batteries that power EVs, mobile phones, and other uses, will help the government’s Make in India initiative.

A Geological Survey of India (GSI) team visited Salal, a hamlet nestled in the high mountains of Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district, in 2018 to collect samples for mineral identification. On February 9, the mines ministry announced that it had discovered massive lithium resources in the hamlet totaling 5.9 million tonnes. If the estimate of 5.9 million tonnes of deposits at Salal is correct, India will have the world’s fifth-largest lithium reserves, ahead of the United States.

The discovery is significant because it comes at a time when India is going all out for a green transition, notably in transportation, where electric car adoption is being pushed hard. Lithium is utilised in batteries that power EVs, mobile phones, and other uses, and the finding will help the government’s Make in India programme.

Sharma, 39, ascribed the finding of lithium to the repeal of Article 370, which accorded J&K special status. According to the officials, GSI workers performed thorough geophysical work such as borehole logging, drilling, and core sample collection. Assistant district mineral officer Naveen Kumar said the lithium resources are 6 kilometres long and 3 kilometres broad.

Salal, according to local panchayat members, has a population of over 8,000 people living in approximately 2,500 dwellings. The potential for lithium deposits in Salal was first recognised in 1990, when geologists KK Sharma and SC Uppal discovered encouraging signals in Reasi district, then a part of Udhampur district, and advocated more exploratory work.

Locals and the district administration both believe that the Salal lithium location might be a game changer because India has been importing the mineral from other nations, including China/Hong Kong, Australia, and Argentina. Smaller lithium deposits were discovered in Karnataka in 2021, but the recent finding of this huge deposit in Reasi will be a windfall for India’s battery production aspirations.

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