With requirement for lithium rising manifolds, the Central government is exploring the possibilities of investing in mines abroad, especially in Argentina and Australia.
According to top sources, the joint venture company of union mines ministry, Khanij Bidesh India Limited (KABIL), which consists of National Aluminium Company Ltd. (NALCO), Hindustan Copper Ltd. (HCL) and Mineral Exploration and Consultancy Ltd, is exploring opportunities for investment in lithium mines in Argentina and Australia.
Owing to fluid geopolitical situation arising out of the Russia-Ukraine war, which has impacted the global supply chains, India is keen to source critical minerals like lithium from within the country as well as abroad.
Highly placed sources informed IANS that government is open to acquiring critical minerals mines abroad to avoid shortage in case supplies are impacted.
In continuation of this effort, the mines ministry’s joint venture company KABIL is looking at investing in lithium mines in countries like Argentina and Australia, they added.
The requirement of lithium has risen in India as well as globally owing to its usage in batteries for electric cars.
With electric vehicles in India rising exponentially, owing to government’s green energy push, lithium is being sourced and mined domestically also.
A lithium-ion battery pack for a single electric car contains about 8 kg of lithium, according to industry experts.
Official sources further informed that in the last five years, Geological Survey of India (GSI), has carried out 20 projects on lithium and associated elements in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya and Rajasthan.
During its field season programme 2022-23, GSI has taken up 18 projects on lithium and associated elements in Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Rajasthan.
However, resource of lithium has not yet been augmented by GSI sources said.
The Mineral Exploration and Consultancy Limited, a PSU under the Mines Ministry, has undertaken an exploration project for lithium in Ladakh.
In addition to this, the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research, a constituent unit of department of atomic energy, is carrying out exploration for lithium in parts of Mandya and Yadgir districts of Karnataka.