Lithium reserves in Reasi | Auctioning decision to be taken by J&K government: Centre

‘GSI confirmed inferred resource of 5.9 million tonnes’
Men walk near the lithium reserves discovered in J&K's Reasi.
Men walk near the lithium reserves discovered in J&K's Reasi. File: Mir Imran for Greater Kashmir

Jammu: The union government Monday stated that the decision regarding “auctioning of the Lithium mineral block in Salal-Haimna areas of Reasi district in Jammu region would be taken up by the government of Jammu and Kashmir as on date.”

In the area, the Geological Survey of India (GSI), after its ‘preliminary exploration’, had confirmed an inferred resource (G3) of 5.9 million tonnes of lithium ore.

This was stated by the Union Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi today in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.

Meanwhile, as per J&K government officials, e-auction of potentially rich reserves of Lithium in Reasi - the second highest in the world, would follow the appointment of transaction advisor.

In May this year, the then J&K Mining Secretary Amit Sharma had informed Greater Kashmir that the process of appointment of transaction advisor was in final stages and it would pave the way for e-auction of Reasi Lithium reserves.

“Once the technical advisor gets appointed then he will create e-auction documents for us. On the basis of which we will conduct e-auction for (extraction of) Lithium reserves. The process will take some reasonable time as we are trying to make it happen very soon. Even the Government of India is very keen to push it as soon as possible and following instructions of the Lieutenant Governor, the process is continuing rapidly and everybody is focussed,” he had stated. 

Prior to it, on May 2, the Secretary Ministry of Mines Vivek Bharadwaj at an industry event in the union capital had stated that the auction of Lithium reserves would be started by December as his ministry had written to J&K administration for the transaction advisor for it (auction).

In Rajya Sabha today, Joshi said that the Geological Survey of India (GSI) carried out a ‘preliminary exploration’ i.e., G3 stage mineral exploration project on Bauxite, rare earth elements and Lithium in Salal-Haimna areas of Reasi district in Jammu & Kashmir during FS 2020-21 and 2021-22 and confirmed an inferred resource (G3) of 5.9 million tonnes of lithium ore.

“There are scattered houses in the mineralised block of Salal-Haimna in Reasi district,” he said.

With regard to its processing and extraction, Joshi informed, “The processing and refining methods for lithium ore can vary depending on the type of lithium deposit, the characteristics of the ore, and the intended end-use of the lithium compounds. India is capable of developing technologies for beneficiation of lithium ore to lithium mineral concentrate. Successful experimentation has been done for extraction of lithium from mineral concentrate in laboratory scale.”

Joshi also informed that besides J&K, the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research under Department of Atomic Energy established 1600 tonnes (inferred category) lithium resource in Marlagalla area, Mandya district in Karnataka.

“This is a preliminary estimate and since then, exploration inputs by AMDER are focused to convert the preliminary estimate to exploitable category and higher degree of confidence and to augment lithium resource in the adjoining extension areas. Bench scale studies have been completed on hydro-metallurgical extraction of Lithium from Spodumene mineral concentrate from the area to produce very pure Lithium Carbonate,” he said.

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