After oil, Rajasthan may throw up lithium stocks | News from India

NEW DELHI/JAIPUR: India may be ready to make its second ‘discovery’ of lithium reservations, with the IANS news agency on Monday saying the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has found a large stockpile of the critical mineral, used in electric vehicles, laptops and mobile phones, in Degana area, Nagaur district, Rajasthan.
There was no official word from either the GSI, central or state government. But the agency quoted GSI and state government officials as saying the discovery could meet 80 percent of Indian demand.
Understandably, the report created a stir throughout the day, with analysts joining the ring on trade and strategic gain for the country, especially ending China’s monopoly.
In Jaipur, however, a senior geologist at the state department of mines has indicated that the jubilation may be premature. “Exploration was completed in March in a couple of blocks. But testing, analysis and 4-5 months of ascertaining the lithium content will be needed to determine whether it will make mining financially viable,” he said on condition of anonymity. .
According to him, exploration is at a pre-mining level and an additional level of exploration would be needed if reports indicate sufficient lithium content.
The US Geological Survey estimates total lithium reserves globally at just 80.7 million tons. Nearly 54% of India’s lithium imports come from China, which absorbs 80% of the global supply. Available data shows that India imported more than Rs 6,000 crore worth of lithium, including Rs 3,500 crore from China, in 2020-21.
What appears more likely is that a team of GSI surveyors searching for tungsten in the area may have come across traces of lithium, indicating the presence of larger deposits. Degana was known for tungsten mining in the areas around the Renawat hills. But cheaper supplies from China put the industry out of action after 1992-93.
On Feb. 9, the Center announced a discovery of lithium with an estimated stockpile of 5.9 million tons valued at $410 billion. in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir, but said more studies are needed to establish mining feasibility.


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