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Lithium Deposits Discovered in Rajasthan

Context:

After Jammu and Kashmir, lithium reserves have been traced in Rajasthan.

Relevance:

GS Paper-3: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. New Lithium Deposits
  2. Lithium Metal
  3. Significance of Lithium
  4. China’s Lithium Dominance

New Lithium Deposits:

  • As per the report by the State Government officials of Rajasthan, new lithium deposits were discovered in Rajasthan.
  • Officials have even alleged that the lithium reserves are higher than the ones recently found in Jammu and Kashmir and the quantity of lithium in Rajasthan can meet around 80% of India’s demand.
  • For the first time, lithium reserves were found in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi in February this year. 

Lithium Metal

  • With three protons and the element symbol Li, lithium is the third element in the periodic table. The atomic mass of it is 6.941.
    • Two stable isotopes of lithium, lithium-6 and lithium-7, combine to form natural lithium.
  • Lithium is the lightest metal, making up more than 92% of the element’s natural abundance. Of all the metals, lithium has the lowest density.
    • The metal is stored under oil or enclosed in an inert atmosphere because it reacts with both air and water. It is challenging to put out a lithium fire because of the reaction with oxygen.
  • Lithium burns brightly red when it is ignited.
    • It was one of the three elements, along with hydrogen and helium, that were created during the big bang.
  • The element occurs naturally in the Earth’s crust in an abundance of about 0.0007%.

Significance of Lithium

  • Lithium is a soft, shiny grey metal that can be found in the earth’s crust. Lithium is significant to India. Its capacity for energy has made it useful in a variety of industries, earning the nickname “white gold.”
  • The majority of the world’s lithium production in the future will go towards making the batteries that power electric vehicles and other modern appliances.
  • India is currently dependent on imports of lithium because it lacks its own lithium resources.
  • In fiscal 2022, India imported Lithium and Lithium ion worth almost ₹14,000 crore.
  • These reserves are uncommon.
  • India could become truly “Atmanirbhar” by utilising the potential of the lithium reserves in J&K, which would also help it achieve its goals for renewable energy while reducing its reliance on foreign nations.
  • Lithium is a key component of India’s plan to increase EV penetration by 30% by 2030.

China’s Lithium Dominance

  • Although China is the world’s largest market for electric vehicles, it controls both the supply and demand side of the lithium industry. It also controls nearly 75% of the world’s production of cell components and battery cells. As a result, the spread of EVs may lead to India’s dependence on China, similar to how it is dependent on the Middle East for crude oil.
  • However, the reserves in J&K offer a significant opportunity for India to become self-sufficient.

-Source: Live Mint


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