Massive lithium reserves found in the Himalayan region of Kashmir

5.9 million tonnes of lithium reserves could be a big boost in tackling carbon emissions.
Ameya Paleja
Kashmir region
Kashmir region

Yumi mini/iStock 

The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has reported that it has found 5.9 million tonnes of lithium reserves in the disputed Kashmir region. The mines are currently at the primary exploration stage.

Lithium is a primary component of rechargeable batteries that have assumed importance for their ability to power everything from smartphones to electric cars and even transport ships. Prices of lithium have increased sharply in the international market in recent years and countries look to move away from fossil fuels to electrified transport.

India's push for cleaner transport

As part of its efforts to cut carbon emissions, India is looking to increase the market share of electric vehicles to 30 percent by the end of this decade. However, the country has been dependent on Australia and Argentina for its lithium needs and has been exploring ways to improve the mineral supply.

Its push for exploration of lithium bore results in 2021 when nearly 1,600 tonnes of the alkali metal were found in the southern state of Karnataka. However, the recent discovery in the Reasi district of Kashmir dwarfs the previous find. According to the estimates of the GSI, the area could be home to 5.9 million tonnes.

This will be a shot in the arm for Indian goals of cleaner transport. Countries worldwide are looking for ways to gain access to this rare metal. Earlier this year, China signed a $1 billion dollar deal with Bolivia to tap into its lithium reserves, estimated to be around 21 million tonnes, BBC said in its report.

While India's new-found reserves are allegedly abundant, mining lithium is not straightforward. Experts have pointed out the use of fossil fuels and the requirements for large amounts of water in the process, affecting indigenous communities the most.

In this case, too, the find comes in an area where geopolitics have made the region highly unstable. A few years ago, the dısputed region was brought under Indıan state control, which could now facilitate access to mining sites.

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