The deposit is estimated to be 5.9 million tons in the Salal-Haimana area of Reasi District of Jammu & Kashmir (UT), making it one of the second largest deposits of lithium in the world

A significant deposit of lithium, a rare metal used in the manufacturing of batteries for electronic devices and electric vehicles, has been discovered in India. The deposit is estimated to be 5.9 million tonnes in the Salal-Haimana area of Reasi District of Jammu & Kashmir (UT), making it one of the largest deposits of lithium in the world.

"The unavailability of Lithium has been one of the reasons why India has been dependent on other countries for Li-Ion batteries and other EV components. Lithium being one of the core elements of the Li-Ion batteries and taking into consideration the financial impact of sourcing Lithium, the recent discovery of Lithium reserves in J&K does come in as a new lease of life as it further enables India’s ambition to become self-sufficient in its energy storage needs,” Pankaj Sharma, Co-Founder and Director of Log9 Materials said.

Lithium is considered a crucial component for the production of rechargeable batteries, which are used in a variety of electronic devices, including smartphones, laptops, and electric vehicles. The recent discovery of this large deposit of lithium in India could potentially help the country to meet its domestic demand for metal, which has been increasing in recent years due to the growing popularity of electronic devices and electric vehicles.

In addition to meeting domestic demand, the discovery of this large deposit of lithium in India could also help the country to become a major player in the global market for lithium.

However, the development of this lithium deposit is not without its challenges. The process of extracting lithium from the ground is complex and requires significant investments in technology and infrastructure. In addition, the environmental impact of lithium mining is a major concern, and the government of India will need to take measures to ensure that the development of this deposit is done in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner.

The Fight With China

China is an anomaly in the world of lithium. According to BP's Statistical Review of World Energy 2021, the country only holds around 7.9 per cent of the world's lithium reserves at the end of 2020. But, where the country shines is the manufacturing of the metal. China is estimated to have 60 per cent of the world's capacity for processing and refining lithium.

Elon Musk even commented on the difficulty of refining lithium. “I’d like to once again urge entrepreneurs to enter the lithium refining business. The mining is relatively easy, the refining is much harder. (It) requires a massive amount of machinery and it's a hard thing to scale,” Musk said in Tesla's July 2022 earnings call.

Lithium refining can be a complex and challenging process, depending on the source of the lithium and the method used for extraction. The largest source of lithium is from mineral deposits such as spodumene, petalite, and lepidolite, which require mineral processing to extract the lithium. This process involves crushing the ore and then separating the lithium using various techniques such as froth flotation, magnetic separation, and gravity separation.

Another method for obtaining lithium is from brine lakes, where lithium is extracted through evaporation and solar concentration. This method is typically less complex than mineral processing but can take a longer time to produce a final product.

India’s lithium reserves, if manufactured and refined judiciously, can potentially make it compete against China.

What Is Lithium Used For?

Lithium is a chemical element with the symbol Li and atomic number 3. It is a soft, silvery-white metal that is highly reactive and flammable. Lithium is widely used in a variety of applications due to its unique chemical and physical properties. Some of the most important uses of lithium include:

Batteries: Lithium is a crucial component in the production of rechargeable batteries for a wide range of electronic devices, including smartphones, laptops, and electric vehicles. Lithium-ion batteries are preferred over other types of batteries because they are lightweight, have a high energy density, and a low self-discharge rate.

Pharmaceuticals: Lithium is used as a mood stabilizer in the treatment of bipolar disorder, depression, and other mental health conditions. Lithium has been shown to have a calming effect on the central nervous system, making it an effective treatment for these conditions.

Glass and Ceramics: Lithium is used in the production of special glass and ceramics, as it helps to reduce the melting temperature of these materials. This makes it possible to produce glass that is lighter and stronger, as well as ceramics that are more heat-resistant.

Aerospace and Military: Lithium is used in the aerospace and military industries for its high heat transfer and thermal conductivity properties. Lithium is used to cool the temperature-sensitive components in space vehicles and military equipment, such as radar systems and missile guidance systems.

Lubricating Greases: Lithium is used as an ingredient in high-temperature lubricating greases, due to its ability to withstand high temperatures and provide long-lasting lubrication.

These are some of the most important uses of lithium, but the metal is also used in a variety of other applications, including air treatment, metallurgy, and energy storage. With the increasing demand for lithium for batteries and other applications, the discovery of significant deposits of the metal, such as the recent discovery in India, could have significant economic and technological implications for countries and industries around the world.