JAMMU: In the era of fast, accessible news, the ‘discovery’ of lithium reserves in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir has triggered a nationwide interest, particularly for the significance of the mineral in fuelling India’s ‘aatmanirbhar’ (self-reliant) dreams.
The Centre government announced on Thursday, that 5.9 million tons of lithium, a crucial mineral for the manufacturing of electric vehicles and solar panels, had been discovered in Jammu and Kashmir.
Often referred to as ‘white gold’ due to the increasing value of batteries in manufacturing items like phones, laptops, and electric vehicles, this discovery is certainly a critical milestone in India’s quest to become a global manufacturing leader.
Actually, the Lithium reserves in Jammu and Kashmir were found in the late 1990s, when Indian geologists had spotted promising signs in Reasi province, then a part of Udhampur district and proposed further exploratory work there, but no measures were taken for further exploration or the extraction of the mineral.
The GSI scientists K K Sharma and S C Uppal had prepared a report titled “Final report on Regional Geochemical Survey for Base Metals and Lithium in Salal Area… Field Session 1995-96 and 1996-97” in the year 1999.
Read the Complete Report here:
This 67-page report made prominent mention of the high values of lithium persistent throughout the Reasi belt, while also acknowledging that high values of lithium were also reported in the year 1992.
It is surprising that the government made the announcement regarding the Lithium only now, while this detailed report was in public domain for almost 25 years now.
India's First: In a boost to #AatmaNirbharBharat, 5.9 million tonnes inferred resources of lithium have been discovered for the first time in the country, in Reasi District of Jammu & Kashmir. pic.twitter.com/gQVkCvPVxN
— Pralhad Joshi (@JoshiPralhad) February 11, 2023
While the ministry of mines announcement through the Press Information Bureau made no mention of the 1999 report, Vivek Bharadwaj, the mines ministry secretary, confirmed to a newspaper that the discovery was indeed made on the basis of the previous work by the GSI that had recommended further investigations.
To put the size of the deposit in perspective, the lithium found in Reasi means India now has the fifth-largest lithium reserves in the world, just ahead of the United States.
In its official handout, the government said that the Geological Survey of India has for the first time established Lithium inferred resources (G3) of 5.9 million tonnes in Salal-Haimana area of Reasi District of Jammu & Kashmir (UT).
This report along with 15 other resource bearing geological reports (G2 & G3 stage) and 35 Geological memorandums were handed over to respective state governments during the 62nd Central Geological Programming Board (CGPB) meeting held on 09th February 2023.
Out of these 51 mineral blocks, 5 blocks pertains to gold and other blocks pertains to commodities lke 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. The blocks were prepared based on the work carried out by GSI from field seasons 2018-19 to till date.