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Nigeria’s latest lithium find

Gs Paper-1

 Syllabus: Distribution of key natural resources across the world

 

Context:                   

High-grade lithium has been discovered in Nigeria.

About: Lithium is a soft, silvery metal. It has the lowest density of all metals. It reacts vigorously with water. Lithium and most lithium minerals are mined along with other high-value metallic minerals such as tin, niobium-tantalum (columbite-tantalite), and uranium (in pyrochlore).

Greenbushes mine in Western Australia is the largest hard-rock lithium mine in the world.  Global lithium mine production hit a record high of 100,000 tonnes in 2021, a 21 per cent increase over 2020 (82,500 tonnes).

Globally, the demand for Lithium has been increasing because of its vast application mainly as a Lithium-ion battery.

Lithium-ion batteries are generally more expensive but have better performance and are becoming the preferred technology. The different types of Lithium-ion batteries commonly used are:

 

 

Status of India with respect to these critical mineral resources

  • India imports almost all of its need for rare earth metals and of lithium, Cobalt (mostly from China)
  • India’s demand for these critical resources has risen 6 fold in the last five years as it tries to be the electronic and solar manufacturing hub
  • India’s first-ever Lithium deposit site was found in Southern Karnataka’s Mandya district
<strong>Government Steps for critical metals </strong>
  • Khanij Bidesh India Ltd. (KABIL) has been setup to source and acquire mines in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile (called lithium triangle).
    • It also carries out exploratory work to extract lithium from the brine pools of Rajasthan and Gujarat and the mica belts of Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
  • Critical Minerals Strategy for India: It identified 49 minerals which will be vital for India’s future economic growth
  • Collaboration with other world powers: Under QUAD, India is collaborating to ensure just and fair global governance of critical mineral resources and remove supply constraints
  • ISRO has commercialized indigenously developed lithium ion battery technology and has selected 14 companies for transfer of technology.
  • 1st Lithium ion batteries manufacture plant in India: by CSIR along with RAASI Solar Power Private Limited
  • Policy proposed to incentives companies for setting up recycling facilities for lithium ion batteries and make it incumbent on producers to collect used batteries

 

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