Massive lithium reserves discovered in Rajasthan can meet 80% of India's demand
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Michael Gonsalves
PUNE: After Jammu and Kashmir, lithium reserves have been found in Rajasthan's Degana which are higher, Rajasthan government and the Geological Survey of India (GSI) officials said on Monday.
They said these reserves identified in the Degana municipality of Nagaur district in Rajasthan are said to contain significantly more lithium than the 5.9 million tonnes found in Jammu and Kashmir recently.
Officials have claimed that the quantity of lithium found in Rajashtan can meet about 80 per cent of the country’s demand and requirement.
For the first time, lithium reserves were found in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi in February this year. This was the first significant mineral discovery in India, as previously only a small reserve had been discovered in Karnataka.
Since lithium is a key component of batteries used in electric vehicles, the government is searching for rare metal reserves both within and outside the country.
Lithium is the lightest as well as the softest metal across the globe. A nonferrous metal, it converts chemical energy into electrical energy and is one of the key components in EV batteries.
As of now, India depends on imports for many minerals like lithium, nickel and cobalt, and has been looking to strengthen its supply of these key minerals, which are otherwise crucial for furthering its plans to expand its electrical vehicle footprint.
India's Mines Ministry announced that Lithium reserves have been found in Rajasthan surpassing the capacity of the recently found reserves in Jammu and Kashmir. It will be a big boost for the EV industry.
Apart from GSI, a consortium of three Public-sector Undertaking companies – National Aluminium Company, Hindustan Copper, and Mineral Exploration Corp – is working to provide a vehicle for research & development for recycling, acquisition, and also joint manufacturing of Lithium-ion batteries.
At the moment, 47 per cent of the world’s lithium production takes place in Australia, 30 per cent in Chile and 15 per cent in China. But, 58 per cent of the mineral’s processing takes place in China, 29 in Chile and 10 per cent in Argentina.
India's plan to increase EV penetration by 30 per cent by 2030 relies heavily on lithium - as of now, only a little more than 1 per cent of all vehicle sales in the country are electric vehicles.
A lithium battery is the only alternative for electric vehicles since it has a high power-to-weight ratio, enabling it to provide a large charge while keeping the vehicle's curb weight low. It is more energy efficient and performs better at a wide range of temperatures. This makes it a safer, more reliable method than other materials.
"As India discovers significant lithium reserves in Rajasthan, in addition to the previously discovered reserves in Jammu and Kashmir, the country is well positioned to become the third largest market for EVs in the next four years," said Varun Goenka, CEO & Co-Founder at Chargeup.
Batteries, being the single largest cost and supplies dominated by China, have been a major obstacle for India's EV industry, he noted.
"However, with the 'Make in India' initiative and the discovery of lithium reserves, India is now able to reduce its dependence on foreign countries and control the fluctuating price of lithium," Goenka said.
This development not only enables India to meet its domestic requirements but also allows it to supply lithium to other countries, creating a promising future for the country's EV industry, he pointed out.
He said the future seems charged up for India as it accelerates towards achieving its goal of transitioning towards sustainable energy sources while reducing its carbon footprint.