Alongside a move to penetrate into the world lithium value chain, India has started a concerted domestic exploration drive for the alkali metal, an important component of the lithium-ion rechargeable batteries that are used in power electric vehicles (EVs), laptops, and mobile phones.
Initial studies by the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD), a wing of the Department of Atomic Energy, have shown the presence of 1,600 tonnes of lithium resources in the fiery rocks of the Marlagalla-Allapatna area of Karnataka’s Mandya district. A government official said the AMD is performing surface and sub-surfaces studies for lithium in potential geological regions of the country. The find in Mandya is very small in quantitative terms, but it marks some primary success in the effort to domestically mine lithium by way of hard-rock extraction of the ore.
India is seen as a late bloomer in efforts to enter the lithium value chain. 2021 is likely to be an inflection point for battery technology – with many potential changes to the li-ion technology, and alternatives to this existing formulation in advanced stages of commercialization. India right now imports all its lithium needs.