How important is the discovery of lithium deposits in Indian-administered Kashmir?

India has announced a significant discovery of lithium deposits in its administered Kashmir, a rare mineral used in the production of electric vehicles.

On Thursday, the government said that 5.9 million tonnes of lithium deposits have been discovered in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Until now, India has been importing lithium from Australia and Argentina.

Lithium is a key material used in various other electronic devices, including rechargeable batteries for smart phones and laptops, and is also used in electric vehicle batteries.

Experts say the discovery could help India in its efforts to reduce carbon emissions to combat global warming and increase the number of electric cars in the country by 30 percent by 2030.

The Ministry of Mines of India says that the Geological Survey of India has discovered these lithium deposits in Salal Hemana area of ​​Raisi district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Small deposits of lithium were also discovered in the southern state of Karnataka in 2021.

Earlier, the government had said that it was considering increasing the supply of rare metals to promote new technologies and for this, resources were being sought from the country and outside the world.

Indian Ministry of Mines Secretary Vuk Bhardwaj told Mint newspaper that India is reassessing the steps taken for rare metals and minerals in the country to achieve its target.

Countries around the world are trying to take carbon-free measures to reduce climate change, and demand for rare metals such as lithium has increased.

In 2023, China signed a $1 billion deal to expand Bolivia’s lithium reserves. According to an estimate, these reserves are 21 million tons and are the largest in the world.

According to the World Bank, mining of important minerals will increase by 500% to meet global demand by 2050.

However, experts say that lithium mining is not environmentally friendly.

Lithium is mined from hard rock and underground brine deposits that are abundant in Australia, Chile and Argentina.

When this mineral is extracted, it is burned with fossil fuels and leaves a mark on the earth. Its extraction process uses a lot of water and releases a large amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Extracting it from underground reservoirs uses a large amount of water, and in countries like Argentina where water is scarce, local communities have protested.

These people say that such activities are depleting natural resources and leading to severe water scarcity.

By Shahab

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