After the buzz regarding finding of lithium reserves between 2020 and February 2021, there is no significant movement by the concerned authorities in this regard. The new development has once again raised hopes in Karnataka.
Preliminary surveys on surface and limited subsurface by AMD have shown presence of lithium resources of 1,600 tonnes in the pegmatites of Marlagalla-Allapatna area, Mandya district in Karnataka.
Sources explain that apart from Mandya, AMD – a unit of the Department of Atomic Energy under central government – is also carrying out exploration for lithium in potential geological domains in parts of Yadgir district of Karnataka.
However, experts claim that economic viability has to be worked out. If viable, the exploration of lithium will help the country in a big way as the Indian automobile industry is heading towards electric mobility.
Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Atomic Energy and Space, Jitendra Singh, stated the significance and quantity of lithium resources in Marlagalla-Allapatna area, Mandya district, Karnataka may be established only after the completion of exploration in the entire area.
Subsequently, plans for commercial exploitation of the lithium deposits can commence after the technical, social and economic feasibility studies in the area, he explained.Union Minister of Mines Pralhad Joshi said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha that “Preliminary surveys on surface and limited subsurface exploration by the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD) have shown presence of lithium resources of 1,600 tonnes (inferred category) in Marlagalla area of Mandya district in Karnataka.”
In view of research papers on the availability of lithium, Revenue officials of Mandya district had conducted an inspection in villages around Srirangapatna in Mandya district in February 2020.
Then, Deputy Commissioner Venkatesh, along with other officials, visited Alapatna near Srirangapatna as there were reports of deposits across a few square kilometres. The authorities went around a few villages and are still awaiting further reports from the Department of Atomic Energy and others.
He said that lithium reserves have been found near Mandya by researchers of the Atomic Minerals Directorate. The reserves have been estimated at 14,100 tonnes in a small patch of land surveyed in Mandya that was published in the Current Science journal.