India’s first Lithium refinery which will process Lithium ore to produce battery-grade material will be set up in Gujarat, state government officials said.
Manikaran Power Limited, one of the country’s largest power trading and renewable energy company will be investing over Rs 1,000 crore to set up this refinery, MK Das, Additional Chief Secretary to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani told The Indian Express on Thursday.
“They are coming to Gujarat for sure. They are currently exploring a couple of places in Sanand and Dholera to set up this refinery. Lithium is a rare element not usually found in India. The company will be importing Lithium ore from Australia and will be processing it here,” Das added.
Last year, Manikaran Power had collaborated with Australian firm Neometals to tap the Mount Marion Lithium mine in Western Australia.
The proposed project is expected to help Gujarat secure the raw material supply for domestic manufacturing of Lithium batteries as it looks to promote electric vehicles.
Boost for electric car market
With India poised to become one of the largest electric car market of the world, the country is also looking to access raw materials like Lithium needed to produce batteries. India currently imports most of the Lithium needed. According to data tabled in the Parliament in February 2020, the import of Lithium-ion batteries quadrupled to 712 million batteries in 2018 from 175 million in 2016. China, Hong Kong and Vietnam were the leading sources of imports.
“There are already a few Lithium ion battery manufacturing plants which are being set up in Gujarat. So we felt a Lithium refinery will help make the state a hub for Lithium ion batteries,” the state government official added.
TDS Lithium-Ion Battery Gujarat Private Ltd is India’s first Lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant in Gujarat which is being set up jointly between Toshiba Corporation, DENSO Corporation and Suzuki Motor Corporation to manufacture and supply batteries to Suzuki Motor Gujarat plant in Hansalpur. The foundation stone for the Rs 1135 crore plant was laid in September 2017 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe visited Gujarat. “This Lithium ion battery manufacturing plant is expected to become operational by January or February 2021,” said Das.
Tata Group has also acquired land in Dholera Special Investment Region (Dholera SIR) near Ahmedabad to set up a Rs 4000 crore Lithium-ion battery plant. Apart from this, the Adani Group is also planning to set up a Lithium battery manufacturing complex in the state.