Rajasthan Lithium reserves

Lithium ore sits in a pile at a facility in Australia. Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg

India’s quest for lithium reserves continues as another significant deposit has been discovered in Rajasthan’s Degana, surpassing the size of the previously found reserve in Jammu and Kashmir. Rajasthan government officials have revealed that this reserve can fulfill approximately 80 percent of India’s lithium demand, potentially reducing the nation’s reliance on China for this crucial mineral.

Currently, India depends entirely on costly foreign imports for its lithium supply.The lithium reserves in Rajasthan are located in the Renvat hill of Degana, an area historically known for its tungsten deposits. During British rule, tungsten was extracted from this region and utilized in military applications during the First World War. However, after China implemented its inexpensive export policy in 1992-93, tungsten production ceased, leading to the abandonment of the area.Now, the discovery of lithium in this same region is expected to transform the fate of Rajasthan and the country. Lithium, the lightest metal in the world, plays a crucial role in rechargeable devices, making it highly sought after globally.

Given the increasing shift towards green energy, the demand for lithium is projected to rise significantly by 2050.China currently holds a monopoly in the global lithium market, with large reserves in Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, and the United States. India heavily relies on China for 53.76 percent of its lithium imports, amounting to over Rs 3,500 crore in 2020-21. The newfound lithium reserves in Rajasthan offer a potential solution to break free from this dependence and enable self-sufficiency in green energy.

The Geological Survey of India (GSI) survey team, initially investigating high-grade tungsten minerals, stumbled upon the lithium deposits in Degana. Further surveys are underway in Barmer, Jaisalmer, and other locations, with the aim of expediting exploration work and initiating mining auctions for these reserves.

The discovery of substantial lithium reserves in Rajasthan signifies a promising opportunity for India to meet its growing lithium demand, boost its economy, and reduce dependency on foreign supplies.


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