Research paper points to lithium reserves in Mandya district

Deputy Commissioner M.V. Venkatesh during his visit to Allapatna in Mandya district on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Reserves of the rare metal lithium, a key component needed to build batteries for electric vehicles, have been found in Allapatna–Marlagalla sector in Srirangapatna taluk of Mandya district in Karnataka. These findings by researchers from the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD) will be published in the peer reviewed journal, Current Science.

“The recent core drilling in a small area of 30 m X 440 m at Marlagalla has led to an estimated 1,600 t of Li with an average grade of 0.246 wt%,” said the researchers in their paper.

DC’s visit

Following this, on Wednesday, Mandya Deputy Commissioner M.V. Venkatesh visited Allapatna. He also sought a report from the Department of Mines and Geology. Deputy Director, Mines and Geology, Pushpa said that the exercise to trace reserves of minerals such as lithium demands many critical steps such as core drilling.

In the yet-to-be published paper in Current Science, the researchers explain that it was a maiden attempt of subsurface exploration (core drilling) by the AMD during 2013 over a small area which has helped unravel vital information and the type and extent of rare metal mineralisation. In this paper, the researchers underscore the potential of lithium in the area based on data obtained from subsurface explorations, and chemical analyses of substantial number of samples carried out since 2013.

India depends on imports to meet its lithium needs and it is yet to be determined whether these findings will help ease the burden. The researchers concluded that Karnataka holds a large potential of lithium resource in the country.

The presence of lithium has not come as a surprise as the the AMD, Department of Atomic Energy, had found spodumene (a source of lithium) in 1989. “Subsequent mineral exploration carried out by the AMD over four decades has established the pegmatite terrain of the Allapatna–Marlagalla sector as the single largest rare-metal source,” said the researchers in the paper.

Not new

According to a senior expert at the AMD, Southern Region, at Nagarbhavi in Bengaluru, Lithium reserves, in minute quantities, have been traced in a good number of places across the country. The quantity as per the the findings by AMD researchers is also very tiny. However, the detailed study and exploration could give new leads to the survey findings.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 12:26:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/research-paper-points-to-lithium-reserves-in-mandya-district/article30864653.ece

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