In lithium discovery, an oversight may have cost India 26 years

In Salal, locals hope the discovery can change the fortunes of the village.


The Geological Survey of India (GSI) announced this week that Huge lithium deposit discovered in Jammu and Kashmir It might have been more than two decades earlier were it not for what seemed to be fatal inertia and neglect.

Some 26 years ago, GSI submitted a detailed report of the presence of lithium in Salal on union territory in the same area. But until now there seems to have been no meaningful follow-up.

“The Geological Survey of India has established a first-ever Lithium Inferred Resource (G3) of 5.9 million tonnes in the Salal-Haimana area of ​​the Reasi region of Jammu and Kashmir,” Ministry of Mines statement said Tuesday.

“Inferred” means the lowest of the three levels of confidence in estimating a deposit, after “Indicated” and “Measured”.

Like previous discoveries from 1995-97, GSI’s latest findings are preliminary. Officials acknowledged that the exploration and discovery were based on the group’s previous work.

“Given the continued lithium value and the widespread presence of bauxite pillars (paleoplanar surfaces) in many locations, the outlook for lithium appears very promising,” GSI said in a 1997 report.

But the sources said there was no effort to move forward with exploration. The recent GSI announcement reaffirms the discovery and quantity of lithium – quite possibly the seventh largest deposit of the rare element in the world.

However, experts warn it’s too soon to celebrate. According to the United Nations Framework Classification of Mineral Resources, exploration is divided into four phases. The GSI findings are currently at Tier 2, with two Tiers remaining.

As of now, India does not have the technology to mine and process lithium. Mines Minister Vivek Bhardawaj said that once the Jammu and Kashmir government auctions off the deposits, private companies will start mining the deposits.

“This is a big deal for India. We are focusing on critical minerals because that is where the future is,” said Vivek Bharadawaj, the Indian government’s minister of mines.

He said the geological report had been handed over to the Jammu and Kashmir government and it would be up to it to decide on the next step.

“Now it’s their turn to conduct the auction. Once the private party comes out, they will start the process and dig the minerals,” Mr Bhardawaj said.

The discovery has the potential to put India on the map One of the world’s major lithium minesbecause about 50% of the world’s lithium mines are produced in three South American countries: Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.

The discovery could end India’s reliance on light metal imports and help the country’s ambitious plans to switch to electric vehicles, in addition to boosting other key industries such as healthcare infrastructure.

In addition to batteries, cell phones, laptops and digital cameras, lithium is also used to treat bipolar disorder, experts say.

In Salal, locals hope the discovery can change the fortunes of the village. Many villagers were seen carrying the stone and displaying it as a great asset that could end unemployment in the area.

“These are not ordinary stones, they will change the fate of the village. These stones will change the fate of Reasi.” A villager said.

Here is a 1997 Geological Survey of India report:

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