Locals upbeat, say lithium discovery will boost employment, tourism in J&K : The Tribune India

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Locals upbeat, say lithium discovery will boost employment, tourism in J&K

Beginning of mining process may take five years | 60 families will need rehabilitation

Locals upbeat, say lithium discovery will boost employment, tourism in J&K

Residents of Salal village carry lithium stones in Reasi district on Saturday. PTI



PTI

Arjun Sharma

Jammu, February 11

Even as the locals in Reasi are ecstatic over the discovery of 5.9 million tonnes of lithium, officials and experts believe that the discovery is in its initial stage and will take years for the actual mining process to take place. Lithium is used in the manufacturing of electric vehicles and solar panels. Since the Geological Survey of India (GSI) announced the presence of lithium reserves in Salal-Haimana area of Reasi district, local residents have been thronging the area.

Rajinder Singh, Naib Sarpanch of the area, said the GSI had been carrying out tests in the area for past two years and left a few months ago. “The discovery will not only provide more employment opportunities, but also bring the area on the international map, thus boosting the tourism sector,” he said.

Best quality

Against the normal grade of 220 parts per million, Reasi’s lithium is of 500 ppm-plus grading. With 5.9 million tonnes, India will surpass China. —Amit Sharma, J&K mining secretary

initial Estimates

The GSI’s study found 5.9 million tonnes of lithium. These are initial estimates. The process will take at least five years before actual mining starts. —Prof Pankaj Srivastava, University of Jammu

Opportunities

The discovery will not only provide more employment opportunities, but also bring the area on international map, thus boosting the tourism sector. —Rajinder Singh, Naib sarpanch, Salal village

Professor Pankaj Srivastava, Department of Geology, University of Jammu, said the GSI’s study had found the inferred resource to be around 5.9 million tonnes. “These are initial estimates. Many assessments and samplings are required. The process will take at least five years before actual mining starts,” he said.

The exploration of mineral deposits is divided into four stages — reconnaissance (G4), preliminary exploration (G3), general exploration (G2) and detailed exploration (G1). Scientists are at the G3 stage in Reasi.

District Mining Officer Shafiq Ahmed Local said over 60 houses in the area would have to be rehabilitated once mining starts.

J&K Mining Secretary Amit Sharma said lithium was not earlier available in India. “We were dependent for its 100% import. The G3 (advanced) study shows the presence of best quality lithium in abundant quantity in the foothills of Mata Vaishno Devi shrine at Salal village.”

He said that against the normal grade of 220 parts per million (PPM), the lithium in Reasi is of 500 ppm-plus grading. With a stockpile of 5.9 million tonnes, India will surpass China in availability, he said.

Deputy Commissioner Babila Rakwal said, “A lot of work needs to be done before the lithium blocks are auctioned. At present, a survey is being conducted by the GSI and the Department of Geology and Mining of the UT,” said Rakwal.

Meanwhile, Aditya Khajuria, member of the Climate Front Jammu, said, “We are witnessing frequent landslides in different parts of J&K, mainly due to widening of the Jammu-Srinagar highway. Mining in Reasi should not result in another environmental hazard.”

Lithium to give investment a fillip: Gadkari

Buoyed by the lithium discovery, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said Kanpur, Lucknow, Noida, Ghaziabad and Meerut would become manufacturing hub of e-vehicles and lithium batteries. He was speaking at Global Investors Summit in Lucknow. TNS

(With inputs)


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