To accelerate EV adoption, Indian Govt hopes lithium mining in Jammu & Kashmir will begin in a year

With the aim of expediting the electric vehicle push in the country, the Government is looking to start lithium mining in Jammu and Kashmir within a year's time. 

By Shahkar Abidi calendar 12 Sep 2023 Views icon4382 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
To accelerate EV adoption, Indian Govt hopes lithium mining in Jammu & Kashmir will begin in a year

Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister for Transport and Highways revealed that he recently met with Jammu and Kashmir government officials and asked them to speed up the efforts for lithium mining. He also asked them to seek assistance from the private sector. 

In February of this year, India announced the discovery of 5.9 million tonnes of inferred lithium reserves in Jammu and Kashmir, the first in the country. Weeks later, in an RTI response to Autocar Professional, the Geological Survey of India (GSI), which is mandated with creating and updating mineral resource assessments, revealed that it is conducting exploration of lithium and related materials in Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Ladakh, and Gujarat, in addition to Jammu and Kashmir, in the field season 2022–23.

The new exploratory move to scout for lithium reserves assumes importance given that the country's electric vehicle (EV) sector is still totally dependent on imports, particularly from China, for its lithium requirements. If these discoveries prove successful, India may be able to substantially reduce its reliance on costly imports and could even become an exporter in the long-term. 

The government’s vision to accelerate the EV transition would mean, India aims to have 80 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2030, and if the lithium is imported from other nations, then the country would have just shifted the import bill from oil in the Middle East to lithium from other parts of the world, hence these discoveries assume mega importance. India imported Rs 18,763 crore worth of lithium and lithium-ion during April–January FY23, data available with the Commerce Ministry suggests.

These discoveries, if they fructify, could also potentially lower the cost of lithium-ion batteries, making EVs more affordable for the Indian market. Furthermore, it will give impetus to the creation of a thriving domestic EV battery industry, transforming the country's automotive industry. 

Currently, 47 percent of the world's lithium is produced in Australia, 30 percent in Chile, and 15 percent in China. However, China processes 58 percent of the world's lithium, Chile 29 percent, and Argentina 10 percent.

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