How much lithium does India have?

How much lithium does India have?

The Indian government announced Thursdayon February 10, that 5.9 million tons of lithium, a crucial mineral for the manufacture of electric vehicles and solar panels, had been discovered in the provinces of Jammu and Kashmir.

It was India’s first major lithium discovery, with the only other reserves being a small 1,600 tonne deposit discovered in Karnataka. two years ago. Until now, the country has depended on Australia, Chile and Argentina for any lithium imports needed for its manufacturing sector.

Secretary of Mines Vivek Bharadwaj told reporters that the lithium deposit will help India become “aatmanirbhar”, a slogan often promoted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi which means self-reliant. And the discovery is certainly a crucial step in India’s quest to become a global manufacturing leader, coming just days after the US Commerce Secretary announced plans a strategic partnership between the two countries to boost competition against China.

To put the size of the deposit into perspective, the lithium from this discovery alone means India now has the fifth largest lithium reserve in the world, just ahead of the United States. However, refining lithium ore into a mineral that can be used to make batteries is a complex process, meaning India will have to rely on imports for at least a few more years.

Does India dream of electric vehicles?

Lithium is often referred to as “White gold‘ due to the increasing value of lithium batteries in the manufacture of items such as telephones, laptops and electric vehicles. And with the EV industry which should reach more than 800 billion dollars of the annual market size by 2030, new reserves likely mean a big payday for manufacturing companies in India.

This discovery is likely to help the Indian government fulfill its recent promise to increase the number of private electric cars by 30% before 2030. The World Bank said that the extraction of crucial minerals such as cobalt, graphite and lithium will need to increase by 500% to meet global climate targets by 2050.

However, the lithium mining and refining process has been criticized for its considerable environmental impact. The element is most commonly found in underground reservoirs, meaning it often contaminates and shuts off scarce water sources in rural communities. Additionally, the production process involves heating the ore to a high temperature that can only be achieved cost-effectively by burning fossil fuels, which means that for every ton of lithium, 15 tons of carbon dioxide are emitted in the air.

Where are the largest lithium reserves in the world?

The vast majority of the world’s lithium reserves are found in the vast expanse of salt flats in Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. Bolivia has by far the largest lithium reserves in the world, but most of it remains in the ground as the country does not have the developed infrastructure to excavate it. For this reason, Bolivia ranks nowhere near the top of actual lithium production.

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