Lithium reserve found in Karnataka: Here’s how it will affect the EV sector in India

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News Desk

Atomic Minerals Directorate (AMD), a unit of India’s Department of Atomic Energy, has discovered a reserve with almost 14,000 tonnes of lithium in Mandya district near Bengaluru.

Electric mobility sector in India may not have been happy about the government’s proposal to hike custom duty levied on electric vehicles assembled here. But there is a good news that could offset that dismay. According to media reports, researchers at the Atomic Minerals Directorate (AMD) have found lithium reserves in Karnataka. The department, which is a unit of India’s Department of Atomic Energy, has discovered a reserve with almost 14,000 tonnes of lithium in Mandya district near Bengaluru, making it the single largest source of lithium in the country. It is interesting to note that Department of Atomic Energy had identified potential lithium reserves in Southern Karnataka in 1989 and had been carrying out mineral exploration since then. But the lack of technological advancements slowed down the this process.

In case you didn’t know, lithium is a rare earth metal, which means its reserves are sparsely available on our planer. Most of lithium reserves are found in countries like Chile, Australia, Argentina, and China. With that being said, this rare earth element is a crucial raw material for many electronic appliances, including rechargeable batteries. So, the discovery of lithium reserve in India may sound like a good news, especially for India’s EV industry which has been relying on other countries for EV batteries. But there is a catch. First, what needs to be seen is how easily the recently found lithium reserve can be commercialized. Also, another thing to note is that it is a very small reserve, especially when compared to China that has over 1 million metric tonnes of lithium reserve. So, it is very unlikely that the industry could benefit from this discovery anytime soon. However, it does hint that other lithium reserves could be present in Karnataka and nearby areas.

Electric mobility has gained unprecedented importance in India with the government actively pushing for EV adoption through schemes like FAME and other policies. But there are two major impediments stifling the transition from ICE (internal combustion engine) based vehicles to EVs. First is the lack of a robust charging network and second, the upfront cost of electric vehicles. While the government and industry players are actively working to improve the charging infrastructure, the latter problem is currently being tackled by offering subsidies and purchase incentives. But the drop in EV prices hasn’t been substantial because of high cost of lithium-ion batteries (due to limited availability of the metal).


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