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Geological Survey of India working on seven lithium exploration projects

Friday, 30 Jul 2021
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As part of India’s energy security plans, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has taken up seven lithium exploration projects in Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir and Rajasthan.

Also, the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMDER) under the Department Atomic Energy (DAE) has undertaken lithium exploration in Karnataka and Rajasthan.

This comes in the backdrop of the Union government announcing Rs 18,100 crore Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme to make lithium-ion cells to promote e-mobility in India.

However, India does not have enough lithium reserves for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries, with lithium also having other uses such as in mobile phone batteries, solar panels, aerospace and thermonuclear fusion. Almost all-electric vehicles in the country run on imported batteries, mostly from China.

Also, state-run Khanij Bidesh India (KABIL) -- a joint venture firm of National Aluminium Company, Hindustan Copper and Mineral Exploration Company is scouting for acquiring cobalt and lithium mines overseas. India has also inked an agreement with Argentina for securing strategic minerals. The JV KABIL has inked non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with three state-owned organisations of Argentina -- JEMSE, YPF and CAMYEN.

Securing lithium supplies will play a major role in Indian energy majors’ pivot towards the country’s green economy. A case in point is Reliance Industries (RIL) announcing its plans to set up an Advanced Energy Storage Giga Factory.

AMDER has also taken up subsurface exploration in Marlagalla area, Mandya district, Karnataka. Reconnaissance surveys have been also carried out along Saraswati River palaeo channel in Jodhpur and Barmer districts, Rajasthan, for locating lithium mineralisation associated with brine (saline water in salt lakes).

Preliminary surveys on surface and limited subsurface exploration by AMD, have shown presence of lithium resources of 1,600 tonne (inferred category) in the pegmatites of Marlagalla-Allapatna area, Mandya district, Karnataka.

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