Traces of rare metal vanadium, key for batteries, found off Gujarat coast



, a critical raw material for many industrial applications, has been found in sediment samples collected from

Gulf of Khambhat

, which opens into the

Arabian Sea

off Alang in Gujarat. What makes this find a significant one is that the

war mineral

, used to strengthen steel and make batteries, is scarce in India.
The Geological Survey of India (GSI), which conducted research on the sediments, first reported the potential new source of vanadium. “It is the first report of vanadium occurrence in the offshore sediments of India,” says B Gopakumar, a researcher from the Marine and Coastal Survey Division (MCSD) of GSI, Mangalore, in an article published in ‘Nature’ magazine.
Rarely found in its pure form naturally, vanadium is present in over 55 different minerals, which makes its production costly. At Gulf of Khambhat, it has been found in a mineral called titanomagnetite, which is formed when molten lava cools rapidly.
GSI scientists

said the vanadiferous titanomagnetite deposits in the Gulf of Khambhat were possibly drained from the Deccan basalts mainly through the rivers of Narmada and Tapi. The scientists collected 69 samples from the sediments in the Gulf of Khambhat.

Vanadium is a critical raw material for strategic sectors such as defence and aerospace. For instance, vanadium-containing alloys of titanium and aluminium are used in jet engine components and high-speed airframes.
Besides these, the metal is also used for storing energy and in making critical electronic components. It is used to make alloys that are resistant to corrosion, wear and high temperatures. It is also used to make vanadium redox flow batteries, which are promising for large-scale energy storage.

Traces of the metal have so far been found in Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha and Maharashtra.

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