The announcement that a vast deposit of lithium ores has been found in Jammu’s Reasi district has set off possibly premature celebrations. Lithium is a rare-earth element critical to battery-storage technology and hence part of the value chain for electrical vehicles, and off-grid solar power and wind-turbine storage systems. Most of the largest proven lithium reserves are in Bolivia and Chile, and China possesses the largest refining capacities. If the estimates that the Reasi deposits of 5.9 million tonnes of lithium are close to being accurate, then India possesses the largest reserves after Bolivia. However, it may be too early to celebrate that India will be catapulted into playing a key role in global lithium-ion battery production.
The current estimate of reserves is based essentially on a 1999 survey by the Geological Survey of India, which indicates “inferred” reserves with a “low level of probability”. Those reserves may ta
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