Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD)
The Indian government has been exploring the commercial potential of lithium reserves in the country. Recently, the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD) conducted a preliminary survey that discovered the presence of lithium reserves in Madya district of Karnataka. This follows the government’s initiative to initiate commercial exploration for the rare mineral in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
About the AMD
The Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research is a unit of India’s Department of Atomic Energy. The organization was founded in 1948 as the Rare Minerals Survey Unit and was later renamed the Raw Materials Division and the Atomic Minerals Division before taking its current name in 1998. AMD is responsible for discovering mineral deposits needed for the country’s nuclear power program. The organization is headquartered in Hyderabad and has seven regional centers.
The Significance of Lithium
Lithium is a rare metal that is increasingly in demand for its use in batteries, particularly in electric vehicles. The demand for lithium is expected to grow substantially in the coming years as more countries shift towards electric vehicles to reduce their carbon emissions. India has been making efforts to promote electric vehicles to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and achieve its target of becoming a net-zero carbon emitter by 2070.
Lithium Reserves in India
India is currently heavily dependent on imports for its lithium requirements. The country’s lithium reserves are estimated to be around 4,00,000 tonnes, primarily found in the states of Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. The government’s focus on exploring lithium reserves in the country is aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on imports and promoting domestic manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries.
Commercial Exploration of Lithium Reserves
The Indian government has been taking steps towards initiating commercial exploration of lithium reserves in the country. The Ministry of Mines has set up a Joint Venture Company with the National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO) and Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL) for the exploration and commercial production of lithium in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The government has also announced a scheme to provide incentives for the production of high-efficiency solar photovoltaic (PV) modules and lithium-ion batteries.
Challenges in Lithium Exploration
While India has vast reserves of lithium, the exploration and commercial production of the mineral have been limited due to various challenges. One of the primary challenges is the lack of infrastructure and technology for the extraction and processing of lithium. The country also lacks skilled personnel and expertise in the field of lithium exploration and processing.
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