Lithium-ion battery, SEM image with ZEISS GeminiSEM, via Flickr
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The discovery of new lithium reserves in Jammu and Kashmir could benefit the Indian economy by reducing its reliance on imported resources for electric vehicles, creating jobs in mining and manufacturing sectors, making electric vehicles more affordable for consumers through reduced cost of lithium-ion batteries, as well as developing new industries. The Times of India writes about this.

On February 9, India announced the discovery of its very first substantial lithium deposits, amounting to 5.9 million tonnes, in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district. This is great news for the Indian economy, as lithium is a key component of electric batteries and is mostly famous for its use in electronics and electric vehicles.

Boost to Various Sectors

The discovery of new lithium reserves in Jammu and Kashmir is essential because lithium is a critical resource in the twenty-first century. Lithium-ion batteries have become the driving force behind the revolution in smartphones, tablets, and other smart devices. Since the commercialization of lithium-ion batteries after the 1990s, significant technological advancements have put lithium at the forefront of battery technology. Its maximum energy storage capacity per kilogram makes it an ideal option for electric vehicle manufacturers due to its enormous energy storage capacity and incredibly low weight.

Will Benefit Indian Economy in Many Ways

The discovery of new lithium reserves in Jammu and Kashmir has the potential to benefit the Indian economy in several ways.

Less Dependence on Imports

It can reduce India’s dependence on imports of lithium, which is currently imported to meet the demand for lithium-ion batteries in electronic devices and electric vehicles. India is one of the world’s largest importers of lithium-ion batteries, and this reliance on imports has contributed to a significant trade deficit. By developing its domestic reserves, India could reduce its dependence on foreign countries for lithium and thus reduce the trade deficit.

Job Creation

The domestic production of lithium could create new jobs and boost local economies. Lithium mining and processing can create jobs in the mining sector, and the development of lithium-ion battery manufacturing facilities could create jobs in the manufacturing sector. India has a large workforce that could benefit from such job creation, particularly in regions where unemployment is high.

Growth for EV Sector

The development of domestic lithium reserves could stimulate the growth of India’s electric vehicle industry. The Indian government has set an ambitious target to achieve 100% electric vehicle sales by 2030, but the lack of domestic lithium reserves has been a significant obstacle to achieving this goal. The discovery of new reserves could help to overcome this obstacle and provide a domestic supply of lithium for the production of electric vehicle batteries.

Uses of Lithium

Lithium is an extremely reactive, alkaline, and light metal that is used in a wide variety of applications, including the manufacturing of ceramics and glassware, greases, medicinal compounds, air conditioners, and aluminum. However, its primary use is in lithium-ion batteries, which are used in EVs, laptops, mobile phones, and other electronic devices.

Use in EV Batteries
EV batteries contain a few grams of lithium, which is best described as being comparable to half a teaspoon of sugar. Four thousand battery cells and eight kilograms of lithium are both potential requirements for an EV. One ton of lithium can supply the demand for 100 electric cars. One million electric automobiles require around 50,000 tons of lithium carbonate equivalent.

Impact Cost Of Lithium-Ion Batteries

The domestic production of lithium could reduce the cost of lithium-ion batteries and make electric vehicles more affordable for Indian consumers. Currently, the high cost of lithium-ion batteries is a significant barrier to the adoption of electric vehicles in India. By developing domestic reserves, the cost of lithium-ion batteries could be reduced, making electric vehicles more affordable and thus stimulating demand for them.

Not only would India be able to benefit from its own resources but it would also open up opportunities for global exports if it can produce enough battery cells with locally sourced raw materials like Lithium.

The Government has also taken measures like setting up a committee comprising officials from Ministry Of Mines, Ministry Of New And Renewable Energy (MNRE), NITI Aayog and Department Of Science And Technology (DST) to look into all aspects related to development & utilisation  of strategic minerals like Lithium from Indian resources.

With over 5.9 million tonnes found in Reasi district alone, this could be one step closer towards achieving our country’s EV dream as it would bring down costs significantly with more availability.

However more assessments need to be done before it can be tapped into so that it does not disrupt or harm local ecosystems