Lithium-ion batteries are used in electric vehicles. Currently, India meets 90 per cent of its lithium requirement through imports. A lot of foreign exchange is spent on this. The use of imported lithium greatly increases the cost of the battery
The Geological Survey of India ( GSI ) announced the discovery of Lithium Deposit last week . This has happened for the first time in India. This deposit of lithium has been found in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir. It is said that it can be of about 59 lakh tonnes. How much will India benefit from this, how much does India need Lithium, what is it used for and how does India meet its Lithium needs? Let’s try to find out the answers to these questions.
Why is Lithium important for India?
Lithium is essential for making lithium-ion batteries. This battery is used in electric vehicle. Currently, India meets its lithium requirement from imports for making lithium-ion batteries. In 2020-21, India imported lithium-ion worth Rs 8,811 crore. According to government data, 95 per cent of this came from Hong Kong and China.
The government has prepared Vision 2030 for Electric Vehicle (EV). Under this, a target has been set to reach 30 percent of EV usage by 2030. For this, in the case of lithium, India needs to reduce its dependence on imports. About 8 kg of lithium is needed to make a lithium battery used in an electric car. This means that if India wants to achieve its goal of increasing the use of EVs, it will benefit greatly from getting lithium deposits.
India has adopted two types of strategy for this. It procures lithium from domestic sources as well as imports it from abroad. GSI is working on 18 projects of Lithium. These are in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Rajasthan. The government has also formed a joint venture company. Its name is Khanij Videsh India (KABIL). Its job is to identify and acquire mineral assets abroad. The company is working closely with agencies in several countries, including Argentina and Australia.
Which countries are at the forefront of lithium production?
In the year 2021, Australia, Chile and China accounted for 90 percent of the world’s lithium production. In terms of reserves, Chile, Australia and Argentina are at the forefront. It has reserves of 9.3 million tonnes in Chile, 6.2 million tonnes in Australia and 2.7 million tonnes in Argentina. According to the data of the United States Geological Survey, the deposits of 5.9 million tonnes found in India are very important in terms of deposits available in the above mentioned three countries.