Ola CEO Advocates Building Alternate Lithium Supply Chains To Prevent Dependence On China

Bhavish Aggarwal recommends that the country develops two sources for the mineral, partner with other countries and localize the primary requirement of lithium

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By Paromita Gupta

Entrepreneur India

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Ola Chief Executive Officer Bhavish Aggarwal said that India needs to develop alternate supply channels for Lithium in order prevent dependence on China in the coming years.

"China currently dominates only the midstream processing of Lithium. However, the majority of Lithium mines are located in Australia, Chile and Argentina. China doesn't control the vast majority of these mines. By focusing on localizing the midstream processing of Lithium and partnering with these countries, India can build an alternate supply chain for itself and the world," wrote Aggarwal in an official Ola Electric blog post.

The silvery-white alkali metal is mostly utilized for developing Lithium batteries for electric vehicles and mobile devices and the top three nations to produce the element (based on number of reserves) are Australia, Chile and Argentina. However, in terms of mine production, China ranks third with 14,000 metric tons after Australia (55,000 metric tons) and Chile (26,000). The three countries collectively produce 90% of the metal production globally.

In 2019, BP Statistical Review of World Energy reported Australia accounted for 52.9% of global production whereas Chile housed 55.5% of global reserves.

As the world and India rapidly adopts EVs in their daily lives, whispers and rumors have been growing that becoming eco-friendly by producing EVs will make India dependent on China in the coming future. Considering the complex relations and foreign policies of China and India, the latter needs to develop alternate supply chains for procuring lithium. And since China accounts for just about 15% of the estimated global production, India has options to build a supply chain with.

Furthermore, Aggarwal recommends that the country develops two sources for the mineral, partner with other countries and localize the primary requirement of Lithium. In 2021, India's first Lithium reserve of 16,000 tonnes was discovered in Karnataka, while in March 2022, Minister Nitin Gadkari, Road Transports and Highways, announced that India was producing 81 per cent of the Lithium batteries for EVs in the country.

A time may not be that far when India is 100 per cent self-sufficient for producing Lithium for the country's need and may even be looking at exporting to fulfill other country's demands.

Paromita Gupta

Features Writer

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