Discovery of lithium reserves in India raises hopes and concerns

Discovery of lithium reserves in India raises hopes and concerns

Recently, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) estimated lithium reserves in the Salal-Haimana area of Reasi district in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. GSI has estimated 5.9 million tonnes of lithium here.

  • Now there is talk of increasing the scope of exploration due to the possibility of finding lithium outside the original site in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • An ‘Inferred’ mineral resource means a resource whose quantity, quality (grade) and mineral content are estimated on the basis of limited confidence only.
  • Reports have shown that lithium resources are spread far beyond the original location. Due to this the scope of geological exploration is being extended.
  • At present, India is dependent on imports to meet its entire lithium requirement.

Other possible sites in India –

  • Igneous rocks of the Marlagalla-Allapatna region of Mandya district, Karnataka.
  • Brines of Sambhar and Pachpadra in Rajasthan and Rann of Kutch in Gujarat.

Lithium is commonly found in two different types of deposits:

  • Brine Operations: Under this, water containing high lithium content is pumped out from below the surface. It is then subjected to the process of evaporation, which results in the formation of unnecessary water vapour. This concentrated slurry containing high amounts of lithium is then sent to processing plants. Here lithium hydroxide is produced from it.
  • Hard-rock operations: Under this, mineral powder with high presence of ore is obtained using traditional mining techniques like crushing and separation. It is then further sent to plants, where lithium hydroxide is produced from it.

Properties of Lithium –

  • It is a soft, shiny gray colored metal found in the Earth’s crust.
  • It has the lowest density of all metals.
  • It reacts violently with water.
  • It does not occur freely in nature as a metal.
  • Spodumene, petalite, lepidoite and amblygonite are important minerals from which lithium is obtained.

Primary Use: Because of its ability to store energy, it is mainly used for the manufacture of rechargeable batteries. These batteries power modern devices including mobile phones and electric vehicles (EVs).

Other Uses:

  • Lithium Oxide: It is used for special glasses and glass ceramics.
  • Lithium Chloride: It is one of the most hygroscopic substances known so far. It is used in air conditioning and industrial drying systems.
  • Lithium carbonate: It is used for the treatment of psychiatry and depression.
  • Lithium Stearate: It is used as a high temperature lubricant.

Source – Indian Express

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