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Discovery of lithium deposits in J&K to cut dependence on imports

GS Paper 1

 Syllabus: Geography

 

Source: TH, PIB

Context: Geological Survey of India (GSI) has for the first time established Lithium inferred resources of about 6 million tonnes in the Salal-Haimana area of the Reasi District of Jammu & Kashmir (UT)

  • 51 Mineral Blocks including Lithium and Gold were handed over to State Governments

 

Significance of the find:

  • Reduce the need for imports
  • Improve employment opportunities
  • Boost to the manufacture of rechargeable batteries
  • Boost to the Economy
  • Push for India’s Clean Energy targets: Lithium is a key component in batteries for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage systems

Map: Reasi District of Jammu & Kashmir (UT)

 

Other Potential Sites in India:

  • Mica belts in Rajasthan, Bihar, and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Pegmatite(igneous rocks) belts in Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
  • Brines of Sambhar and Pachpadrain Rajasthan, and Rann of Kachchh in Gujarat.

Status of India with respect to these critical mineral resources

  • India imports almost all of its need for rare earth metals and of lithium, Cobalt (mostly from China)
  • India’s demand for these critical resources has risen 6 fold in the last five years as it tries to be the electronic and solar manufacturing hub
  • Recently, India’s first-ever Lithium deposit site was found in the igneous rocks located in the Marlagalla-Allapatna region of Southern Karnataka’s Mandya district.
  • The thermonuclear application makes Lithium a “Prescribed substance” under the Atomic Energy Act, of 1962 which permits AMD to the exploration of Lithium in various geological domains of the country

 

To know about India’s initiative for securing Lithium: Click here

 

About Lithium:

Lithium is a soft, silvery metal. It has the lowest density of all metals. It reacts vigorously with water.

  • Greenbushes mine in Western Australiais the largest hard-rock lithium mine in the world and Australia is the global leader in Lithium production.
  • Lithium is primarily extracted from brine pools (‘Salar’ in Chile) and rock minerals such as spodumene (in Australia)
  • Countries with Largest Reserves: Chile> Australia> Argentina

Current Affairs

 

Applications of Lithium:

  • Batteries: Lithium is widely used in batteries due to its high electrochemical potential and low weight.
  • Glass and Ceramics: Lithium is added to glass and ceramics to improve their thermal stability, transparency, and strength.
  • Aerospace: Lithium is used in the production of lightweight alloys for the aerospace industry.
  • Pharmaceuticals: Lithium is used in the treatment of bipolar disorder due to its ability to stabilize mood swings.
  • Lubricants: Lithium is used as a lubricant in high-temperature and high-vacuum environments.

 

Lithium Production in Stars: Lithium (Li) production is common among low-mass Sun-like stars during their Helium (He) core burning phase.

  

About GSI

It is an attached office to the Ministry of Mines ( HQ: Kolkata; set up in 1851 to find coal deposits for Railways). It is a scientific agency in India to carry out geoscientific activities.

 

Mains Links:

Lithium-ion batteries are the edifice of the wireless technology revolution. In this context discuss the significance and challenges facing these rechargeable Lithium Batteries. (250 words)

 

Prelims Links:

Which one of the following pairs of metals constitutes the lightest metal and the heaviest metal, respectively? (UPSC 2008)

 

(a) Lithium and mercury
(b) Lithium and osmium
(c) Aluminium and osmium
(d) Aluminium and mercury

 

Ans: B

 

Osmium is a hard metallic element which has the greatest density of all known elements. Lithium has an atomic number of 3 and is the lightest known metal.