- Geological Survey of India, an attached office of Ministry of Mines, takes up different stages of mineral exploration following the guidelines of United Nations Framework Classification (UNFC) and Mineral Evidence and Mineral Content Rules (MEMC-2015) for augmenting mineral resource for various mineral commodities including lithium.
- It is a chemical element with the symbol
- It is a soft, silvery-white metal.
- Under standard conditions, it is the lightest metal and the lightest solid element.
- It is highly reactive and flammable, and must be stored in mineral oil.
- It is an alkali metal and a rare metal.
- The alkali metals consist of the chemical elements lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium, cesium, and francium. Together with hydrogen they constitute group 1, which lies in the s-block of the periodic table.
- Lithium metal is used to make useful alloys.
- For example, with lead to make ‘white metal’ bearings for motor engines, with aluminum to make aircraft parts, and with magnesium to make armor plates.
- In Thermonuclear reactions.
- To make electrochemical cells. Lithium is an important component in Electric vehicles, Laptops etc.
Benefits of Domestic Exploration:
- Reducing Import Bill: India currently imports all its lithium needs. Over 165 crore lithium batteries are estimated to have been imported into India between 2016-17 and 2019-20, at an estimated import bill of upwards of USD 3.3 billion.
- Reducing Overdependence on China: China is a major source of lithium-ion energy storage products being imported into the country.
Issues Associated with Domestic Exploration:
- The new find is categorized as “inferred”.
- The ‘inferred’ mineral resource is the part of a resource for which quantity, grade and mineral content are estimated only with a low level of confidence based on information gathered from locations such as outcrops, trenches, pits, workings, and drill holes that may be of limited or uncertain quality, and also of lower reliability.
- The lithium find is comparatively small, considering the size of the proven reserves in Bolivia, Argentina, Australia, and China respectively.
- India is seen as a late mover in attempts to enter the lithium value chain, coming at a time when Electric Vehicles are predicted to be a sector ripe for disruption.
- 2021 is likely to be a turning point for battery technology with several potential improvements to the li-ion technology, and alternatives to this tried-and-tested formulation in advanced stages of commercialization