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India can become number one EV manufacturer by using lithium reserves in J&K: Gadkari

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New Delhi: Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday said that if India can use recently discovered reserve of lithium in Jammu and Kashmir, it can become world’s number one automobile manufacturer in electric vehicle segment.
Addressing an event organised by industry body CII, the road, transport and highway minister said there is a need to encourage public transport, and electric buses are the future.

J&K Govt in process to auction lithium reserves; no timeline yet
New Delhi: J&K mining secretary Amit Sharma on Friday said the Union territory is in the process to auction the lithium reserves discovered last month but it is too early to talk about the timeline.
Lithium reserves have been found for the first time in the country in Jammu and Kashmir.
When asked when the auction of lithium reserves, found in Jammu and Kashmir, will happen, Sharma said, “It is too early. I know we are all ambitious about it, but it is too early to talk about it. But yes, we are in a process and maybe over the next few months or years we would be able to reach there with everybody’s support”.
Lithium is a non-ferrous metal and is one of the key components in EV batteries. “Everywhere they are asking the question when will commercial exploitation start and when will the bidding start and all those kinds of questions… Let us understand the reality that it does not happen overnight and it should not happen overnight because it has lots and lots to offer and once it starts it is going to consume lots of things,” Sharma said during a conclave on the discovery of lithium reserves in J&K, organised by PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Sharma further said that lithium reserves have been discovered in the foothills of the Salal-Haimana area of the Reasi district and extraction from hills is always a challenge.
Jammu and Kashmir will put on sale the lithium block discovered last month, Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi recently said.
The minister had said that the expected date of extraction of lithium will depend upon the successful auction of the mineral block.
“GSI (Geological Survey of India) carried out a G3 stage project during Field Season 2020-21 and 2021-22 in Salal-Haimna areas of Reasi district, Jammu & Kashmir and estimated an inferred resource (G3) of 5.9 million tonnes of lithium ore and the report has been handed over to the Government of Union Territory of J&K,” the minister said earlier.
The minister said that GSI generates baseline geoscience data through mapping, e.g. geological, geochemical, and geophysical, which is a prerequisite for identifying the potential area for systematic mineral exploration.
Based on the mapping data, GSI carries out systematic mineral exploration activities for various major mineral commodities, including lithium.
“In part of Jammu & Kashmir, as a follow up of lithium exploration in Salal-Haimna areas of Reasi district, GSI has taken up another reconnaissance G4 stage exploration programme on lithium and associated mineral in Panasa Dugga Baldhanun Chakar Sangarmarg (Saro-da-Bas) area of Reasi district during current field season 2022-23 and the work is in progress,” he had said.
Based on the mapping outcome more exploration programmes on various mineral commodities, including lithium will be taken up in future in different parts of the country, including Jammu & Kashmir.

Lithium is a crucial element in producing batteries that power electric vehicles.
“Every year, we import 1,200 tonnes of lithium.
“Now, in Jammu and Kashmir, we got lithium. (If) we can use this lithium ion, we will be the number one automobile manufacturing country in the world,” he said.
India has beaten Japan to become the third largest vehicle market in 2022 after China and the USA.
According to Gadkari, presently India’s automobile industry is worth Rs 7.5 lakh crore, and the sector’s contribution to the overall GST revenue is maximum.
The estimated 5.9-million tonne reserve of lithium, a crucial mineral for the manufacturing of electric vehicles and solar panels, had been discovered in Reasi district by the Geological Survey of India (GSI).
“Lithium falls in the critical resource category, which was not earlier available in India and we were dependent for its 100 per cent import. The G3 (advanced) study of the GSI shows the presence of best quality lithium in abundant quantity in the foothills of Mata Vaishno Devi shrine at Salal village (Reasi),” J&K mining secretary Amit Sharma told PTI.
Gadkari noted that good infrastructure is needed for the development of any country. “With our innovative approach, we can develop the backward area, increase the growth and at the same time create employment potential,” he said.
The minister also asked industry leaders to invest in vehicle scrapping.
Gadkari also stressed on the need of reducing India’s logistics cost to single digit by 2024 from 16 per cent of GDP presently.

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