Atomic Minerals Directorate looks for lithium in Karnataka, Rajasthan

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on August 13, 2021

GSI steps up surveys

The Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD), a constituent unit of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), is carrying out exploration for lithium in potential geological domains in parts of Karnataka and Rajasthan.

AMD is carrying out subsurface exploration in Marlagalla area, Mandya district, Karnataka.

According to a written reply by Prahlad Joshi, Minister of Mines, Coal and Parliamentary Affairs, in Parliament two days ago, “Reconnaissance surveys have also been carried out along the Saraswati River palaeo channel, in the Jodhpur and Barmer districts of Rajasthan for locating lithium mineralization associated with brine (saline water in salt lakes).”

“Preliminary surveys on surface and limited subsurface exploration by AMD have shown presence of lithium resources of 1,600 tonnes (inferred category) in the pegmatites of Marlagalla – Allapatna area, Mandya district, Karnataka,” he said.

As per the approved annual field season programme, the Geological Survey of India (GSI), an attached office of the Ministry of Mines, has taken up different stages of mineral exploration including reconnaissance surveys, preliminary exploration, and general exploration for augmenting mineral resource for various mineral commodities including lithium.

During FSP 2016-17 to FSP 2020-21, GSI carried out 14 projects on lithium and associated elements in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Karnataka, and Rajasthan.

During the current FSP 2021-22, GSI has taken up 7 projects on lithium in Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir, and Rajasthan. However, resource of lithium has not yet been augmented by GSI.

Increase in demand

Referring to the Production Linked (PLI) Scheme for Manufacturing of Advance Chemistry Cell to reduce import dependence on ACC Battery, the statement said, “As per analytics consultant, Global Data, the global demand for lithium is expected to more than double to 117,400 mt by 2024 from an estimated 47,300 mt in 2020, likely due to an increase in electric vehicle battery production.”

The Government on 12.5.2021 has approved the PLI scheme for manufacture of Advance Chemistry Cell (ACC) batteries in the country with an outlay of ₹18,100 crore over five years. The scheme envisages establishing a competitive ACC battery manufacturing set up in the country (50 Giga Watt hours). Additionally, 5 GWh of niche ACC technologies is also covered under the scheme.

The scheme proposes a production linked subsidy based on applicable subsidy per KWh and percentage of value addition achieved on actual sales made by the manufacturers who set up production units.

Published on August 13, 2021

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