Lithium deposits found in Karnataka
The Central Government has confirmed in a written reply to Lok Sabha about the presence of 1600 tonnes of lithium deposits in Mandya district of Karnataka. However, the significance and the quantity of the lithium in the region can only be confirmed after exploring the entire area. Further, commercial exploitation for the deposits can start only after the technical, social and economic feasibility studies are done.
- The survey was done on the surface and limited subsurface in the pegmatites of Marlagalla – Allapatna area.
- Survey was done by the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD).
- AMD is a constituent unit under the Department of Atomic Energy.
- Lithium is a significant element for new technologies.
- It is useful in ceramics, telecommunication, glass and aerospace industries.
- Other known uses of lithium are in optical modulators for mobile phones, lithium-ion batteries, high energy additives to rocket propellants and lubricating grease.
- It is also used as a converter to tritium and used as a raw material in fusion reaction.
- Thus, as the demand for lithium-ion batteries has increased, the requirement of lithium has also increased over time.
- The demand has also increased in the light of Indian government’s call of becoming one of the largest electric vehicle market in the world.
- Because of increasing demand, India is spending a considerable amount on Lithium import. The huge import of lithium has increased the import bill of Lithium by three-fold in between 2017 to 2020.
- India is relying heavily Japan, China, and Taiwan for its electric battery supply and other lithium-based equipment.
- Thus, the presence of lithium on Indian soil becomes important to reduce the import dependency and for the proper functioning of the India’s first lithium plant.
India’s first Lithium plant
The first Lithium plant of India has been set up at Gujarat in the year 2021. This refinery will be set up with the help of investment of Rs 1000 crore made by the Manikaran Power Limited. This refinery will make use of Lithium ore to produce the base battery material and make Gujarat a hub for Lithium-ion batteries.
India-Argentina deals on Lithium
Indian firm, Khanij Bidesh India Limited and Argentinian firm had signed an agreement in the year 2020 to jointly prospect the lithium in the South American nation. The South American nation has 17 million tonnes of lithium metal reserves.