Lithium-Sourcing Roadmap for India

Strategies to secure a robust and responsible battery supply chain

This report aims to provide a strategy to guide policy-makers in sourcing lithium responsibly to promote clean energy manufacturing in India, with the aim of supporting low-carbon economic growth, creating equitable jobs, and helping to mitigate climate change impacts. It analyzes strategies of mineral-rich nations, key importing nations, and international companies, to provide recommendations for policy-makers and industry to secure lithium supply. 

By Siddharth Goel, Tom Moerenhout, Deepak Sharma, Swasti Raizada, Prashant Kumar, Kevin Brunelli, Chengxi Jiang, Lilly Lee, Anja Nilson, Qi Wang, Huiying Xu on September 25, 2023

Lithium is a key mineral used in lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery technologies and is anticipated to play a pivotal role in driving the uptake of electric vehicles and stationary storage applications over the next decade. Its criticality is reflected in its inclusion in the critical minerals list of eight major global economies (the United States, European Union, Japan, Canada, Australia, China, Republic of Korea, and India), one of only three minerals to be included in an assessment by all eight countries (the others being tungsten and cobalt). In 2023, India reaffirmed lithium’s importance by designating it as a “critical” mineral along with 29 other minerals. The International Energy Agency (IEA) also forecasts that lithium for clean energy will see the fastest growth in global demand among different critical minerals, growing by 17 times between 2022 and 2045 under the IEA’s net-zero scenario, underscoring its unique importance in driving the energy transition.

India’s geostrategic allies and competitors have long recognized the importance of lithium in maintaining their industrial competitiveness and have taken steps to secure access to lithium resources through direct investments in overseas mines and long-term supply agreements, as well as setting up processing and refining capabilities. In contrast, Indian companies have thus far played a negligible role in the lithium battery supply chain, which, if left unaddressed, may create energy and economic security risks for the country. A lack of decisive action to secure a lithium supply in the coming decade could leave India behind in the race to develop a Li-ion battery manufacturing base and stymie the development of key industries such as electric vehicles and stationary storage applications, hindering India’s economic growth and job-creation potential.

The report would be useful to several Indian ministries, state-owned enterprises, such as Khanij Bidesh Limited (KABIL), as well as industry actors in India seeking to establish a presence in the global lithium supply chain.

Report details