As countries wean themselves off fossil fuels and decarbonise their economies, a global race to extract the precious metal is on the horizon
In early February, the Indian government made a discovery deep beneath the foothills of the Himalayas which holds the potential to transform the nation. It was not a discovery of gold, diamonds or oil – but a highly reactive precious metal that is, quite literally, electrifying the world: lithium.
As countries look to wean themselves off fossil fuels and decarbonise their economies, a global race has emerged to mine the metal, which is a vital component for batteries – the sort used in electric vehicles and mobile – and extremely effective at storing energy.
This race is currently being won by the likes of Australia and Chile, but India’s new-found supply of lithium, which amounts to 5.9 million metric tons, the sixth largest reserve in the world, is likely to make the nation a serious contender.
The government will be eager to exploit its bounty as soon as possible – not only because it offers the opportunity to create jobs and attract investment, helping turbocharge the economy, but because lithium can pave the way to a greener India.
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