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Lithium reserves found near Bengaluru

The country’s electronic vehicles industry has a reason to celebrate as reserves of lithium, a rare metal critical to build batteries for electric vehicles, have been discovered in Mandya, 100 km from Bengaluru. This is a shot in the arm for local manufacturers of EV batteries as it will boost domestic EV production. Researchers at the Atomic Minerals Directorate, a unit of India’s Atomic Energy Commission, excavated 14,100 tonnes of the metal.

This is a great news for the industry as India imports all its lithium needs. Its imports of lithium batteries tripled to US$ 1.2 billion in fiscal year 2019 from US$ 384 million in FY17.

“The present data provides a total estimation of available Li2O as about 30,300 tonnes over an area of 0.5 km x 5 km, which works out to about 14,100 tonnes of lithium metal,” stated N Munichandraiah, Emeritus Professor at the Indian Institute of Science. However, he was quick to clarify that this is not a substantial amount when compared to the other nations, “If one compares with 8.6 million tonnes in Chile, 2.8 million tonnes in Australia, 1.7 million tonnes in Argentina or 60,000 tonnes in Portugal, 14,100 tonnes is not that large.”