GSI discovery makes India 7th largest Lithium resource | India News


NEW DELHI: The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has for the first time established availability of Lithium inferred resources of 5.9 million tonnes in Salal-Haimana area of Reasi in Union Territory (UT) of Jammu & Kashmir — a discovery of strategic importance which will go a long way in solving shortage of Lithium, key component of Lithium-ion batteries used in electrical vehicles (EVs) and other chargeable instruments. The discovery makes India as having the seventh largest resource of Lithium globally. It’ll, however, take time to convert it to reserves.
India currently has to depend heavily on imports of Lithium as major reserves of this critical non-ferrous metal are located in the US, Australia, Chile, China, Argentina and Bolivia. The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war has recently disrupted the supply, resulting in high cost of the minerals. Out of 98 million tonnes of Lithium resources, only 26 million tonnes were treated as reserves – it means ready for use – globally.
“Lithium-ion battery demand will grow exponentially in the power and transport sectors. Globally, there are 98 million tonnes of Lithium resources and we (India) have found 5.5% of the total resources. If some of these resources can be converted to reserves, it would help us meet our domestic demand and also supply to the world,” said Rishabh Jain, senior programme lead, Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW).
Underlining India’s move for the battery PLI scheme of Rs 18,100 crores to set up battery cell manufacturing in the country, Jain, however, said, “It is important to develop mineral processing and raw material processing capability to truly become ‘atma nirbhar’ (self-reliant).”
Global figures, as per the US Geological Survey data, show that Bolivia has the highest 21 million tonnes of identified Lithium resources followed by 20 million tonnes in Argentina, 12 million tonnes in the US, 11 million tonnes in Chile, 7.9 million tonnes in Australia, 6.8 million tonnes in China, 5.9 million tonnes in India (as discovered by the GSI) and 3.2 million tonnes in Germany.
Besides for EVs, Lithium is also critical for harnessing solar power and wind energy — key aspects of India’s efforts to move towards its low carbon growth path in the pursuit of reaching carbon neutrality (net zero emission goal) by 2070.
Referring to the discovery, Siddharth Goel, senior policy advisor at the International Institute for Sustainable Development, said, “International experience shows that environment permitting and mine development can take 10 years or more. In the short-term, India still needs a strategy to source critical minerals, for its 2030 clean energy and EV targets.”
The GSI’s discovery of Lithium reserves in Jammu & Kashmir was disclosed on Thursday during its 62nd Central Geological Programming Board (CGPB). In addition to Lithium reserves, the GSI during its field observation during 2018-19 also discovered blocks of different other minerals including five blocks of gold in different states.
Out of newly discovered 51 mineral blocks, other blocks pertains to commodities like potash, molybdenum, base metals etc. spread across Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. “Apart from these, 17 reports of coal and lignite with a total resource of 7,897 million tones were also handed over to the ministry of coal.,” said the ministry of mines in a statement on Thursday.
It said, “During the ensuing year 2023-24, GSI is taking up 966 programmes comprising 318 mineral exploration projects including 12 marine mineral investigation projects. Major thrust has been given on the exploration of strategic – critical and fertilizer minerals. A total of 115 projects on strategic & critical minerals including 16 projects on fertilizer minerals have been formulated.
“In addition, 55 programmes on geoinformatics, 140 programmes on fundamental and multidisciplinary geosciences and 155 programmes for training and institutional capacity building have also been taken up.”

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