Geologists Uppal, Sharma, the unsung heroes of Lithium exploration, honoured in Jammu
Two Geologists of GSI , SC Uppal( extreme left) & K K Sharma being honoured by the Patron of CGPWA, Jammu & other senior dignitaries of the Association for their exploration of Lithium ores in Reasi belt in 1995-97.
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Geologists Uppal, Sharma, the unsung heroes of Lithium exploration, honoured in Jammu

Geologists Uppal, Sharma, the unsung heroes of Lithium exploration, honoured in Jammu

JAMMU: Former Geologists of GSI, K K Sharma and S C Uppal, whose pioneering exploratory survey of area in Reasi led to discovery of Lithium ores in abundance, were honoured by the Central Govt Pensioners’ Welfare Association (CGPWA), Jammu on Monday.

CGPWA patron S S Wazir, along with two former Chief Secretaries, B R Kundal, and B R Sharma and former Secretary to Govt of India, Ashok Angurana presented mementos to Sharma and Uppal in recognition of their pioneering exploratory work in mid-nineties.

Earlier this month, the union government announced the discovery of 5.9-million ton reserve of lithium, a crucial mineral for the manufacturing of electric vehicles and solar panels, in Reasi district by the Geological Survey of India (GSI).

Both Sharma & Uppal had surveyed the area as a GSI team for final report in December 1999. Sharma and Uppal, along with their team had conducted geochemical survey of 350 square km area for base metal and lithium in Sirban group of rocks in Katra-Muttal-Pres-Salal-Pouni-Chakar and collected 804 samples.

The survey arrived at a conclusion that “the higher values of Lithium are persistent throughout the belt in the Bauxite column”.

In the 69-page report submitted by them in December 1999, they concluded that “the Bauxite column in Salal-Panasa-Sangarmarg (Saro da Bas) and Chakar areas appears to be a promising horizon for Lithium and may be taken up for further detailed work”.
The detailed work was undertaken, as recommended by the Sharma-Uppal team, only in 2020-22. More such promising rocks are expected in the belt.

Speaking of their experience during survey, both Sharma and Uppal said that what has come to light is one of the six such patches of Lithium deposits.

Sharma said that the investigation of the rare strategic mineral was conceptualised and framed by the then Director GSI late M R Kalsotra, also a Life Member of the Association, in 1995.

Speaking on the occasion, CGPWA General Secretary, K B Jandial said that the services of the former Geologists of GSI need to be recognised by the government and the society for their painstaking exploratory work.

“Their work has finally led to discovery of crucial reserves in abundance that can be the game changer in the economic development of Jammu and the country,” he said.
J K Vaid, former Director, GSI and former General Secretary of the Association, said that mineralization is discovered in the Bauxite/Laterite- Clay column of 1-2.5 metres thickness occurring on the surface over the Limestone.

Bauxite/ Laterite occurs in isolated patches and 6 to 7 such patches have been identified in about 35 kms strike length from Muthal- Junglegali to the east and Chakkar to the west. The average thickness of deposits at Salal, investigated in detail in 2020-2022, is around 1.5 metres.

Answering questions, Vaid strongly discounted a misleading media reports of negative fallout on environment due to mining of Lithium ore in the area and said that Li exploration in similar Geological set up is taking place all over the country and around the globe.

He clarified that the deposits are occurring as blanket deposits on the surface and mining would involve just scrapping of the upper infertile crust of the ore with hardly any environmental concern.


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Geologists Uppal, Sharma, the unsung heroes of Lithium exploration, honoured in Jammu