Apart from the 5.9 million tonnes (mt) of reserves in the Salal- Haimna area of the Resai district of Jammu and Kashmir, the Geological Survey of India is also carrying out exploration in the Panasa-Dugga-Baldhanum-Chakar-Sangarmarg region of the same district in the state. Extractable reserve will be established by the lessee post auction of the the Salal-Haimna block.

This apart, the GSI is also carrying out exploration in eight other states—namely, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Gujarat, Nagaland, and Ladakh.

Preliminary exploration for bauxite, rare earth elements, and lithium is also underway in Andhra Pradesh.

“A geological memorandum block named Tatireddipalle has been carved out of the G4 stage project titled Reconnaissance survey to assess the potential of lithium in parts of the Parnapalle Lopatanutula area, Anantapur and Kadapa districts, Andhra Pradesh, which has been handed over to the Andhra Pradesh government for auction with a composite license,” Mines Minister Prahlad Joshi had said in a written response to the Parliament.

In all, 19 blocks are in various stages of exploration (mostly G4 levels) across 10-odd states, including two where the blocks have been handed over to the respective State governments. The exploration is spread across fired seasons 2018-19, 2021–22, and 2022–23.

Some of the areas where the explorations are in the G3 and G2 stages include mines or blocks in the Nagaur district of Rajasthan and the Korba district of Chhattisgarh. Mines in question include Mohangarh, Pipaliya, the North Western extension of Rewat Hill, the South Eastern extension of Rewat Hill (all in Nagaur district), and the Katghora-Rampur area (Jorba).

Indian Imports

India currently imports all the major components that go into lithium-ion cell manufacturing.

As per a reply in the Rajya Sabha by the minister, India’s lithium ion import bill (which covers electric accumulators, including separators) stood at ₹18,554.12 crore in the April–January period of this fiscal, with nearly 76 per cent of these coming from China.

On the other hand, lithium imports (covering primary cells and batteries) stood at around ₹209 crore for the 10-month period of this period, with China and Hong Kong being the top two countries at 30 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively.

In FY22, imports of lithium ion were ₹13,673.15 crore, while those of lithium were ₹165.08 crore.