The Geological Survey of India (GSI), part of the Ministry of Mines, has taken up seven projects for lithium exploration across different states in India. Lithium is the crucial element in manufacturing batteries for phones, electronic devices, and electric vehicles.
According to the forecast in Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) ‘Global Lithium-Ion Battery Supply Chain Ranking,’ Chinese lithium-ion battery manufacturers are likely to retain their recently acquired number one position in the next five years. The U.S. and Sweden may emerge third and fourth by 2025, respectively.
Lithium-bearing minerals fall under Part B ‘Atomic Minerals’ of the First Schedule of the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act, 1957. Their reserves are not available in the National Mineral Inventory.
According to a press release issued by the ministry, the GSI takes up different stages of mineral exploration as per the approved field season program.
Between 2016-17 and 2020-21, GSI carried out 14 projects on Lithium and associated elements in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Karnataka, and Rajasthan.
For 2021-22, GSI has taken up seven projects for Lithium exploration in Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir, and Rajasthan.
Apart from the GSI, the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMDER) – a constituent unit of the Department of Atomic Energy – has also undertaken exploration for Lithium in potential geological domains in parts of Karnataka and Rajasthan.
AMDER has also taken up subsurface exploration in the Marlagalla area of Mandya district in Karnataka. Reconnaissance surveys have also been carried out along the Saraswati River paleochannel in the Jodhpur and Barmer districts of Rajasthan to locate lithium mineralization associated with brine (saline water in salt lakes).
Preliminary surveys on the surface and limited subsurface exploration by AMDER have shown the presence of 1,600 tonnes of Lithium resources (inferred category) in the pegmatites of Marlagalla – Allapatna area, Mandya district, Karnataka.
However, a joint venture company named ‘Khanij Bidesh India’ has been formed by three Central Public Sector Enterprises with the support of the Ministry of Mines.
These Central Public Sector Enterprises are National Aluminium Company (NALCO), Hindustan Copper, and Mineral Exploration Corporation with equity participation of 40:30:30 respectively. The purpose of ‘Khanij Bidesh India’ is to acquire mineral assets overseas – primarily critical and strategic minerals including Lithium, Cobalt, and others, excluding rare Earth elements.
Meanwhile, Barrel Energy, a U.S.-based lithium-ion battery manufacturer, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Hyderabad-based Roshan Energy Technologies to develop and manufacture lithium-ion batteries in India and North America.
Rahul is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Before entering the world of renewables, Rahul was head of the Gujarat bureau for The Quint. He has also worked for DNA Ahmedabad and Ahmedabad Mirror. Hailing from a banking and finance background, Rahul has also worked for JP Morgan Chase and State Bank of India. More articles from Rahul Nair.