India’s energy ambitions combined with its environmental considerations are well-known to the world. Through initiatives like the International Solar Alliance, India is betting big on renewable energy. It also striving to introduce Electric Vehicles on a big scale through FAME scheme.
Among many things to achieve for all these accomplishments, one element is must to nurture this dream. These dreams run on batteries. Lithium batteries to be specific.
India imports all of its Lithium batteries mainly from China. Needless to say, the present geopolitical context is not suited for continuing its dependence on this particular nation.
So, what are the paths before India? There are many positive developments are taking place on the front of lithium which may allow India to secure its interests in the best possible way.
Little Spark of Hope from Karnataka
India has been looking for Lithium and other rare reserves domestically. According to reports, preliminary surveys by the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research, have shown the presence of 1,600 tonnes of lithium resources in the igneous rocks of the Marlagalla-Allapatna region of Karnataka’s Mandya district.
Though this is at a very nascent stage and the reserve estimated is very small in quantity, it is to be noted that explorations are underway in Rajasthan and Gujarat etc.
The Partnership with Australia
The year 2020 in the backdrop of pandemic has seen a rift between Australia and China and at the same time the strengthening of the bond between India and Australia. This has changed many geopolitical equations to India’s advantage, and securing Lithium for India is also another positive happening.
Recent discussion titled ‘Lithium: Powering a New Australia-India Partnership’ conducted by the Indo-Australian Chamber of Commerce reflects the trend effectively. “Lithium metal-based battery technologies will form the key component of the push for the roll-out of EV and hybrid vehicle, and Australia and India both stand to gain from the promise of expanding trade in lithium resources” said the envoy from Australia Barry O’Farrell in that conference.
Back in June 2019, Forbes reported that India and Australia have entered into an agreement in the production of Lithium batteries and said that investment call in this regard would be taken in 2021.
India’s Global Pursuit for Lithium
Beyond Australia, India is keenly exploring all the avenues in the global market to secure lithium and become the major factory source of battery production.
According to a report in WION, a new company namely Khanij Bidesh India Limited was incorporated by three state-owned companies NALCO, Hindustan Copper and Mineral Exploration Limited. Khanij Bidesh India limited will acquire strategic mineral assets like Lithium and Cobalt from countries like Chile and Bolivia.