The resource in Jammu is only inferred, which is the lowest in the conviction for the estimation of a mineral deposit
Corrections: The year for publishing the Final report on Regional Geochemical Survey for Base Metals and Lithium in Salal Area... Field Session 1995-96 and 1996-97 has been corrected.
The central government announced the establishment of lithium-inferred resources of 5.9 million tonnes “for the first time” in Jammu and Kashmir on February 9, 2023. However, Down To Earth did not find any new scientific discovery that could be the basis of the government’s recent declaration.
Several news outlets reported “huge” deposits of the highly reactive metal had been discovered in the Union Territory, missing out on the fact that the resource in Jammu is only inferred.
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Lithium has several industrial applications and is a critical component in batteries for electric vehicles.
Geological Survey of India has for the first time established 5.9 million tonnes inferred resources (G3) of lithium in Salal-Haimana area of Reasi District of Jammu & Kashmir (UT).@GeologyIndia— Ministry Of Mines (@MinesMinIndia) February 9, 2023
The inferred estimate of lithium had emerged through field investigations since 2018-19 that had also shown possible deposits of gold and other minerals in 11 states, a statement by the Union Ministry of Mines added.
The exploration of any mineral deposit involves four stages:
The ministry handed over the report in the G3 stage, along with 15 other resource-bearing geological ones in G2 and G3 stages, to respective state governments during the 62nd Central Geological Programming Board (CGPB) meeting on February 9.
Along with the reports, 35 geological memorandums were also handed over.
There are three progressively viable resource standards — inferred, indicated and measured. The resource in Jammu is only inferred, which is the lowest in the conviction for the estimation of a mineral deposit. Resource mining cannot begin until it reaches the measured status. Thus, the celebrations can wait.
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The largest concentrations of lithium-containing minerals are found in granitic pegmatites, according to SGS Minerals Services, a minerals and mining consultancy. The most important of these minerals are spodumene and petalite.
Spodumene has a theoretical lithium oxide (Li2O) content of 8.03 per cent. A LiO2 concentration of 8.03 per cent translates to 80,300 parts per million (ppm).
The carbonaceous shale of Subathu Formation in Jammu’s Reasi district indicated lithium values in the range of 500-1,000 ppm. This concentration is much lesser than in spodumene, which is currently the most viably mineable hard rock ore of lithium.
DTE investigations did not find any new detailed scientific document backing the claims of lithium reserves having been discovered in the country.
The only basis could have been a 1999 report by GSI titled Final report on Regional Geochemical Survey for Base Metals and Lithium in Salal Area... Field Session 1995-96 and 1996-97.
“...It can be seen that consistently high values of Li and Zr have been recorded in the bauxite column of the entire bauxite belt [in Reasi district of Jammu], which on an average show 337.47 ppm Li...,” the report said.
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The area’s geological investigation is still a work-in-progress, said a few government experts on condition of anonymity. In this case, the concerning question arises of why half-baked analyses were made public by the government without any new detailed reports.
It is important to encourage the market, but we have seen the United States suffering repercussions of the burst of such bubbles twice — first during the Dotcom bubble and again during the housing bubble era.
Real knowledge of deprivation with the intention to work is better than false hope of abundance.
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