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29th June Current Affairs

Nigeria’s latest lithium find

(GS-I: Distribution of key natural resources across the world)

In News:

High-grade lithium has been discovered in Nigeria.


Lithium is a soft, silvery metal. It has the lowest density of all metals. It reacts vigorously with water. Lithium and most lithium minerals are mined along with other high-value metallic minerals such as tin, niobium-tantalum (columbite-tantalite), and uranium (in pyrochlore).

Greenbushes mine in Western Australia is the largest hard-rock lithium mine in the world.  Global lithium mine production hit a record high of 100,000 tonnes in 2021, a 21 per cent increase over 2020 (82,500 tonnes).

Globally, the demand for Lithium has been increasing because of its vast application mainly as a Lithium-ion battery.

Lithium-ion batteries are generally more expensive but have better performance and are becoming the preferred technology.

Status of India with respect to these critical mineral resources

India imports almost all of its need for rare earth metals and of lithium, Cobalt (mostly from China)

India’s demand for these critical resources has risen 6 fold in the last five years as it tries to be the electronic and solar manufacturing hub

India’s first-ever Lithium deposit site was found in Southern Karnataka’s Mandya district.

PM Gati Shakti scheme in academic programs

(GS-II: Issues related to the development of the social sector(Education))

In News:

Union Education Secretary addressed an online workshop on “Leveraging Satellite communication, Geo-informatics, and Geospatial technology for urban planning and to promote multimodal logistics” organized by NITIE Mumbai in association with the Ministry of Education and Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG-N).

He emphasized on leveraging the capabilities of the Gati Shakti platform by all the state governments to scale up their efficiency and economy.

Some of the action points that emerged at the workshop:

Educational Institutions need to contribute to the training of students and industry professionals.

The institutions should be encouraged to use the platform developed by BISAG-N and carry out research work, projects, internships etc.

To strengthen the platform for applications including infrastructure development.

To encourage research in Logistics and Supply chain networks.

Workable and pragmatic coordination and integration to synchronize NEP 2020 and PM Gati Shakti mission

The institutes emphasized the introduction of syllabus through Interdisciplinary courses in Logistics and Supply Chain and integration of emerging technologies to remove silos among the different departments.

PM Gati Shakti Mission:

Integrated planning: It will ensure integrated planning and implementation of infrastructure projects in the next four years, with a focus on expediting works on the ground, saving costs and creating jobs.

Subsuming NIP: The Gati Shakti scheme will subsume the Rs 110 lakh crore National Infrastructure Pipeline(NIP) that was launched in 2019.

Creation of Corridors: It also aims to have 11 industrial corridors and two new defence corridors – one in Tamil Nadu and the other in Uttar Pradesh.

Connectivity: Extending 4G connectivity to all villages is another aim. Adding 17,000 km to the gas pipeline network is being planned.

Integrated Approach: It intends to bring together 16 infrastructure-related Ministries.

Gati Shakti Digital Platform: It involves the creation of a common umbrella platform through which infrastructure projects can be planned and implemented in an efficacious manner by way of coordination between various ministries/departments on a real-time basis.

Russia Gold import ban

(GS-III: Effects of liberalisation on the economy (post-1991 changes), changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth)

In News:

G7  have decided to ban Russian gold imports in order to punish it for the invasion of Ukraine.

How a G-7 Russian gold ban would work:

Will put economic pressure: Already Russia has defaulted on its foreign debtfor the first time since the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, and Gold is Russia’s second-largest export industry after energy.

A ban on imports of Russian gold will target its ability to interact with the global financial system.

Why ban Gold?

Gold used to support currency: The US says Russia has used gold to support its currency as a way to circumvent the impact of sanctions.

One way to do that is by swapping gold for a more liquid foreign exchange that is not subject to current sanctions.

Will the ban work?

No, it may not work: Some experts say since only a few countries are implementing the gold ban, the move is largely symbolic.

Yes, it may:

Restrict export revenue: While Russia will still able to sell gold to other countries outside the Group of Seven jurisdictions, it will “impact the ability of Russia to earn export revenue”

Create threat of secondary sanctions: Countries outside G7, who trade with Russia may face a ban.

How much gold does Russia have?

Russia began increasing its gold purchases in 2014 after the US issued sanctions on Russia for invasion of Crimea. Now the country holds $100 billion to $140 billion in gold reserves.

Gold gives $19bn in revenue every year: Gold is Russia’s second most lucrative export after energy and nearly 90% of the revenue comes from G-7

Impact on India:

Since India is not part of the G7, the move will not directly impact it. However, India may face problems in issuing payments for gold purchases.

May increase the price of Gold: India is the largest importer and consumer of Gold and limited supply may increase its price.