A National Geophysical Research Institute based in Hyderabad has reported large deposits of 15 rare earth elements found in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.
The scientists of NGRI were conducting a survey for non-traditional rocks such as syenites when they made the primary discovery of the minerals in the lanthanide series. The elements which were found included cerite, allanite, thorite, tantalite, columbite, Zircon, apatite, fluorite, monazite and pyrochlore euxenite.
PV Sunder Raju, NGRI Scientist stated that Zircon of various shapes was observed in Peddavadaguru and Reddypalle villages. He added that the monazite grains showed high-order multiple colours with radial cracks within the grains, demonstrating the presence of radioactive elements.
Raju stated that more feasibility studies would be conducted by deep drilling to learn about such REEs. Lithium comes in the critical resource category, which was unavailable in India until recently, and the scientists were 100% dependent on its imports.
The reports further added that in February 2023, the Union Government stated that 5.9 million tonnes of lithium reserves had been reported for the first time in the nation in Jammu and Kashmir. Notably, lithium is said to be a non-ferrous metal and is one of the primary components in EV batteries.
India’s Union Minister Nitin Gadkari stated that if India can utilise the recently found reserve of lithium in Jammu and Kashmir, it can become the number one automobile manufacturer of India in the electric vehicle segment.
Lithium is a highly reactive metal, meaning it can hold a lot of energy that a 1-kilogram lithium-ion battery can have. Furthermore, lithium can keep its charge for a longer time. A lithium-ion battery loses only 5% charge every month compared to a 20% loss in a NiMh – Nickel Metal Hydride battery, and lithium can withstand 1000s of recharge cycles, as per the reports.