The Geological Survey of India (GSI), has for the first time, found lithium deposits in the country. GSI established Lithium inferred resources (G3) of 5.9 million tonnes in Salal-Haimana area of Reasi District of Jammu & Kashmir.
Lithium is a rare earth mineral, and one of the key materials used in manufacturing of batteries having high energy density that are used in electric vehicles, smartphones and other electronic equipment. The latest discovery can power India’s EV revolution. Earlier, as per the Ministry of Mines, supplies of lithium was made from Australia and Argentina.
Lithium & gold deposits
The GSI handed over 15 other resource bearing geological reports (G2 & G3 stage) and 35 Geological memorandums to respective state governments during the 62nd Central Geological Programming Board (CGPB) meeting held on February 9, 2023.
Out of these 51 mineral blocks, 5 blocks pertains to gold and other blocks pertains to commodities like potash, molybdenum, base metals etc. spread across 11 states of Jammu & Kashmir (UT), Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. Additionally, 17 reports of Coal and Lignite with a total resource of 7897 million tones were also handed over to Ministry of Coal.
Impact of the discovery
The discovery is significant in its own as lithium finds use in rechargeable batteries for mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras and electric vehicles. It is also used in some non-rechargeable batteries for things like heart pacemakers, toys and clocks. The discovery is one step towards self-reliant India. Its discovery in India, for the first time, in the UT if J&K is a big news for the country.
Further, it is important to note that lithium does not occur as the metal in nature, but is found combined in small amounts in igneous rocks and in the waters of many mineral springs.
Although it will take some time, the discovery is also good news in other aspects. Lithium metal is made into alloys with aluminium and magnesium, that improves its strength and makes them lighter. A magnesium-lithium alloy is used for armour plating. Aluminium-lithium alloys are used in aircraft, bicycle frames and high-speed trains.
In addition to this, lithium oxide is used in special glasses and glass ceramics. Lithium chloride is one of the most hygroscopic materials known, and is used in air conditioning and industrial drying systems. Lithium stearate is used as an all-purpose and high-temperature lubricant. Further, lithium hydride is used as a means of storing hydrogen for use as a fuel.
Geological Survey of India
Set up in 1851, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) was primarily to find coal deposits for the Railways. Over the years, GSI has grown into a repository of geo-science information required in various fields in the country. The main functions of GSI relate to the creation and upgradation of national geo-scientific information and mineral resource assessment.
It is one of the oldest of organizations in the world. GSI is headquartered in Kolkata and has six regional offices located at Lucknow, Jaipur, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Shillong, and Kolkata and State Unit offices in almost all states of the country.
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 and 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 programs for training and institutional capacity building have also been taken up.