Nearly a year on, the scientific exploration of India’s first ever 5.9 million tonnes of lithium reserves in Salal-Haimana area of in the foothills of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir is yet to begin.
A week ago, the revenue department started the internal demarcation of the land identified as lithium reserves.
“Various government departments have their assets over the reserves. Besides, a considerable population of villagers also has its houses over it. A road has to be diverted before starting actual exploration work as well,” said Reasi district’s mineral officer Shafiq Ahmed.
“The internal demarcation of land started around a week ago at the site as the land over lithium reserve belongs to various departments, such as forest, administration and private land. It also has a human habitation,” added Ahmed.
While scientific exploration will certainly take time, the administration has to first think about human habitation. It has to be rehabilitated first, he added.
The revenue department has been conducting the demarcation with the help of various government departments, which have also furnished their relevant data.
“A panel, headed a magistrate has been formed for the purpose. After internal demarcation, the panel will submit a report to deputy magistrate,” he further added.
On April 15 last year, the then mining secretary Amit Sharma had inspected the site of lithium reserves and interacted with the locals.
Since the discovery of 5.9 million tones of lithium reserves in February last year, not much progress has been made in securing the “white gold” spread in 3 sq km of area. They are India’s first lithium reserves.
A school, primary health centre, houses and a road are located over the reserves. Lithium is a non-ferrous metal and is one of the key components in electric-vehicle batteries. The reserves are situated in Salal Kotli village, around 22 to 23 kms from Reasi district headquarters.
Initially, bauxite was found in the ore but in further surveys. lithium, titanium and aluminium were discovered in it.
Total lithium deposits with China are 5.1 million tones and with the United States 7.9 million tonnes. The world is drifting away from gasoline-fueled combustion engines and a result, demand for lithium, nickel, cobalt and other metals that go into lithium-ion batteries is seeing an upward trend.
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