The central government is expected to invite bids for the lithium reserves discovered in Reasi in Jammu and Kashmir by June this year, reported Mint. The action may grant India access to the strategic mineral, which is used, among other things, in electric vehicles (EVs) and mobile devices.
Earlier this month, the government said that 5.9 million tonnes of lithium reserves have been found in Jammu and Kashmir. According to the Ministry of Mines, the Geological Survey of India for the first-time established lithium inferred resources (G3) of 5.9 million tonnes in the Salal-Haimana area of the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir.
“[This is a] G-3 level find, which means we are sure of significant reserves and, hence, starting the process to mine this critical non-ferrous metal soon,” an official told Mint. The discoveries are divided into four stages according to the United Nations Framework Classification (UNFC), namely G4 (reconnaissance), G3 (prospecting), G2 (general exploration), and G1 (depth exploration), the report added.
With this new finding, India is now the seventh-largest holder of lithium reserves.
The official said that the Center will require that only domestic refineries use the reserves.
Currently, 75 per cent of the world’s lithium refining is under Chinese control. Lithium for India is sourced from the US, China, and Hong Kong. According to Mint, GSI, a partnership of three PSUs—National Aluminium Co., Hindustan Copper, and Mineral Exploration Corp.—is striving to build a platform for R&D for lithium-ion battery recycling, acquisition, and joint manufacture.
Commonly referred to as ‘white gold’, lithium is not only key to the restoration of the depleting environment but it holds the capacity to develop companies and countries with its value. The annual electric vehicles market size is predicted to reach more than $800 billion by 2030. Hence, the newfound reserves likely mean a big economic boost for India.
Notably, Australia, Chile, Argentina, and China are the world’s largest producers and exporters of lithium, driving the market of essential EV material. India can now join the race.