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Report: Lack of lithium hindering India's goal to become EV manufacturing hub

India's lack of access to lithium is emerging as a stumbling block in the country's ambitions to become a global hub for manufacturing electric vehicles, Bloomberg News reported Jan. 20.

The South Asian country plans to support the production of batteries for EVs by importing lithium chemicals from China, Manikaran Power Ltd. Director Jasmeet Singh Kalsi said, according to the report.

Manikaran signed a memorandum of understanding with Neometals Ltd. in June 2019 to jointly look into developing India's first lithium refinery.

Additionally, the Khanij Bidesh India Ltd. joint venture, formed in August 2019 between India's National Aluminium Co. Ltd., Hindustan Copper Ltd. and Mineral Exploration Corp. Ltd., is looking for lithium and cobalt reserves abroad after receiving a government mandate in 2018.

"Indian companies have been involved in trying to prospect for stakes in overseas resources, and possibly on-shoring more raw materials production capacity in India," said Sophie Lu, head of metals and mining for BloombergNEF, according to the report.

A third of India's car sales will comprise electric vehicles by 2040, when the country is expected to become the fourth-largest market globally, according to BloombergNEF.

Electric vehicle sales in India stood at 3,000 in 2018, compared to 3.4 million fossil fuel-powered cars, the report noted.