The Indian government and the Geological Survey of India (GSI) have announced the discovery of large reserves of lithium in the Degana municipality of Nagaur district in Rajasthan.
According to a report in Times of India, GSI claimed that the reserve is bigger than one discovered previously in Jammu and Kashmir. These reserves are expected to be capable of meeting 80% of India's total demand for lithium, which currently relies on imports from China.
This discovery is a game-changer for India's electric vehicle (EV) industry, as it reduces the country's dependency on foreign imports and offers cost benefits.
India's Dependence on Lithium Imports
India is dependent on foreign imports for its lithium needs, mainly from China, and between 2020 to 2021, the country imported lithium worth Rs 6,000 crore. The discovery of these lithium reserves will reduce India's dependency on foreign imports and offer cost benefits in the long run.
The Importance of Lithium in the EV Industry
Lithium is a non-ferrous metal used to make rechargeable batteries for smartphones, laptops, and electric vehicles. India is expected to have 13.92 lakh EVs on the roads by 2030, and the discovery of these reserves serves as good news because they are absolute alternatives to the ores that are being dug out of the earth currently.
Recycling Lithium-ion Batteries for EVs
The unique thing about making lithium-ion batteries for EVs is that once the lithium is extracted, it can be used indefinitely because the lithium inside the battery packs can be recycled infinitely and put into new battery packs. Rajat Verma, Founder & CEO of Lohum, a recycler of lithium-ion battery raw materials, stated that once India begins producing 10 million EVs every year and are recycling the same number of vehicles, the battery will be made from recycled material.
India's Role in the Global Supply Chain
It is estimated that by 2027-28, the global ecosystem will be manufacturing up to 3,000 GWH of batteries. With the discovery of these new lithium reserves, India could become a major stakeholder of the global supply chain.
The report quoted their sources saying that the reserves found in Jammu and Kashmir are much better than anywhere else, with a lithium content of 500 ppm compared to the standard 220 ppm. This means that India's lithium mining will have a higher yield at half the effort, resulting in cost benefits in the long run.
Implications for India's EV Adoption Growth Rate
The cost benefits of these discoveries are essential to sustain India's current EV adoption growth rate and towards achieving the net-zero 2070 emissions goal. As the government cannot afford to offer subsidies for an infinite period, the domestic supply of lithium will allow manufacturers to maintain reasonable prices for their EVs when the subsidy schemes are removed.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)