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India’s Lithium Deal with Argentina

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • India is nearing a deal to acquire five lithium blocks for exploration and development in Argentina.
  • The agreement will be signed between Khanij Bidesh India Ltd. (KABIL) and CAMYEN, a state-owned mining and energy company in Argentina.

About Lithium

  • Lithium is a chemical element (Li) belonging to the alkali metal group.
  • It is a soft, silvery-white metal and highly reactive.
  • Applications: Primarily used in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries; Widely employed in electronic devices (smartphones, laptops) and electric vehicles.
  • Energy Storage: Lithium-ion batteries crucial for energy storage in portable devices, electric vehicles, and grid energy storage.
  • Global Production: Major lithium-producing countries include Australia, Chile, and Argentina.
  • Lithium Triangle: Refers to a region in South America (Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile) with significant lithium reserves. Holds 58% of the world’s known lithium reserves.

India and Lithium Triangle Countries (LTCs)

  • India increasing diplomatic outreach to LTCs for accessing lithium.
  • Seeking lithium resources for lithium-ion battery production, especially for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage.
  • Ambitious plan under the PLI scheme to manufacture Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) to boost battery production.
  • Despite aspirations, India currently imports 100% of its lithium metal, mainly from East Asian countries.
  • States like Telangana aiming to become the EV manufacturing hub of India.
  • Simultaneously exploring lithium deposits in places like Jammu and Kashmir.

Conclusion

  • Part of India’s strategy for a stable supply chain of critical minerals, essential for lithium-ion battery production.
  • Government promoting electric vehicles for environmental concerns and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
  • Securing a reliable supply of lithium crucial for the development and growth of the electric vehicle industry in India.

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