In India mineral resources are very unevenly distributed. Most of the minerals are found in the ancient crystalline rocks of the Deccan and Chotanagpur Plateau. Some minerals are found in the Himalayan region, although they are difficult to exploit.
Minerals are broadly divided into two groups –
- Metallic Minerals
- Ferrous Minerals
- Iron Ore
- Manganese Ore
- Non-Ferrous Minerals
- Ferrous Minerals
- Non-Metallic Minerals
Ferrous Metallic Minerals
- Ferrous minerals are those which contain iron in substantial quantity.
- Ferrous minerals account for about three-fourth of the total value of the production of metallic minerals.
- They constitute the most important mineral group after fuel minerals. They include iron, manganese, chromite, pyrite etc.
- These minerals provide a strong base for the development of metallurgical industries, particularly iron, steel and alloys.
India is one of the few countries of the world which is endowed with vast reserves of good quality of iron ore. She possesses over 20 percent of the world’s total reserves. The quality of Indian ore is very high with iron content of above 60 percent.
Most of iron ore found in the country is of three types – haematite, magnetite and limonite.
Haematite ore –
- contains up to 68 percent of iron;
- is red in colour;
- often referred to as ‘red ore’.
Magnetite ore –
- contains up to 60 percent of the iron;
- is dark brown to blackish in colour;
- often referred as ‘black ores’.
Limonite ore –
- has iron content of 35-50 percent;
- is yellow in colour.
The total estimated reserves of iron ore in the country are placed at about 12,857 million tonnes of which 12,317 million tonnes are haematite ore and about 540 million tonnes of magnetite ore. This is roughly about one-fourth of the world reserves.
Since India has large reserves of haematite and magnetite ores, inferior quality ore like limonite is rarely exploited.
Iron ore deposits are found practically in every state of India.
- 96 percent of the total reserves are in Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Goa. These states also account for 96 percent to the total production of iron ore in the country.
- About 3 percent of the country’s total production comes from Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
- Orissa and Jharkhand together possess about 50 percent of India’s reserves of high-grade iron ore.
- The principal deposits are located in –
- Sundargarh, Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar districts of Orissa and
- Singhbhum district of Jharkhand.
- The principal deposits are located in –
- Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh contributed about 25 percent of country’s total iron ore reserves and about 20-25 percent of country’s production of iron ore.
- The reserves are located in –
- Bailadila range, Raoghat area near Aridongri in Bastar district and
- Dhalli Rajhara range in Durg district.
- The reserves are located in –
- Goa possesses inferior quality ore but its contribution to the country’s total production is impressive. Most of the mines are open cast and mechanized. Almost the entire production of iron from Goa is exported from Marmagao Port to Japan.
- In Karnataka, the most important deposits are found in –
- Sandur-Hospet area of Bellary district;
- Babaudan hills of Chikmagalur district and
- Simoga and Chitradurga district.
- Iron ore deposits of Andhra Pradesh are scattered in the Anantpur, Khammam, Krishna, Kurnool, Cuddapah and Nellore districts.
- Some deposits are also located in the state of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
India contributes about 7 to 8 percent of the total world trade. Now deposits are being worked out specially for export purpose. For example, Bailadila and Rajhara mines of Chhattisgarh and Kiruburu mines in Orissa are being worked for this purpose. Japan, Romania, the former Czechoslovakia and Poland are important importing countries. Iron ore is exported from Haldia, Paradip, Marmagao, Mangalore and Visakhapatnam ports.
India ranks third in the production of manganese ore in the world, next only to Russia and South Africa. About one-fourth of the total production of India is exported.
- Manganese ore forms an important ingredient in the manufacture of iron and steel.
- It is also used in –
- manufacture of dry batteries,
- leather and
- match industries.
- About 85 percent of total manganese consumption in India is used by metallurgical industries.
The important areas of production are in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
- Over 78 percent of total reserves of manganese ore of India occur in –
- the belt stretching from Nagpur and Bhandara districts of Maharashtra to Balaghat and Chindwara district of Madhya Pradesh.
- these two states contribute only 12 and 14 percent of total production respectively.
- The remaining 22 percent of reserves are distributed in Orissa, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Goa and Andhra Pradesh.
- Orissa tops in the production of manganese accounting for 37% of the total production of the country. Its reserves are only 12 percent of total reserves of India. The important mining districts are Sundargarh, Rayagada, Bolangir, Keonjhar, Jajpur, and Mayurbhanj.
- In Karnataka, the deposits are located in the districts of Shimoga, Chitrdurga, Tumkur and Bellary. Small deposits are reported in Bijapur, Chikmagalur and Dharwar districts. Karnataka is the second largest producer of manganese ore, accounting for 26 percent of country’s total productions. It accounts for 6.41 percent of country’s total reserves.
- Andhra Pradesh is a significant producer of manganese ore, contributing about 8 percent of India’s total production, although her reserves are insignificant.
- Goa, Jharkhand and Gujarat also have some deposits of manganese ore.
Non-Ferrous Metallic Minerals
Non ferrous minerals are those which do not contain iron. They include gold, silver, copper, tin, lead and zinc. These metallic minerals are highly important in day-to-day life. However, India is very poor and deficient in all of these minerals.
Bauxite is a non-ferrous metallic mineral.
- India’s reserves of bauxite are sufficient to keep the country self-reliant.
- India’s reserves of bauxite of all grades have been estimated at 3037 million tonnes.
- It is the ore from which aluminium metal is produced.
- Aluminium extracted from the ore is used in making –
- electrical appliances and goods,
- household fittings,
- utensils etc.
- Bauxite is also used for manufacturing of –
- white colour cement and
- certain chemicals.
Bauxite has a wide occurrence in the country. Major reserves occur in Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Uttar Pradesh.
- Jharkhand accounts for 13 percent of India’s total reserves and 37 percent of the country’s total production. The important deposits are located in Palamau, Ranchi and Lohardaga districts.
- Gujarat contributes 12 percent to the total production and equal percentage to the total reserves of the country. The deposits are found in the Bhavnagar, Junagadh and Amreli districts.
- Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh accounts for 22 percent of the total reserves of the country and 25 percent of the total production. The three important bauxite ore regions in these states are Sarguja, Raigarh and Bilaspur districts in the Amarkantak Plateau; Maikala range in Bilaspur, Durg (both these regions are in Chhattisgarh), Mandla, Shahdole and Balaghat districts; and Katni district in Madhya Pradesh.
- Maharashtra accounts for a relatively small production of the country, 18 percent of the total, but possesses the second largest bauxite reserves consisting of 22 percent of the country’s total reserves. Bauxite occurs in Kolhapur, Raigarh, Thana, Satara and Ratnagiri districts.
- In Karnataka the reserves of bauxite occur in the north-western parts of Belgaum district. Huge deposits of bauxite have been discovered in the eastern ghats in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, Salem, Nilgiri and Madurai district of Tamil Nadu, and Banda district of Uttar Pradesh also have workable deposits of bauxite.
India exports bauxite to a number of countries. The leading importer of Indian bauxite is Italy, followed by the U.K., West Germany and Japan.
A large number of non-metallic minerals are found in India but only a few of these are commercially important. They are limestone, dolomite, mica, kyanite, sillimanite, gypsum and phosphate. These minerals are used in a variety of industries such as cement, fertilizers, refractors and electrical goods. In this lesson we will be studying about mica and limestone.
India is the leading producer in sheet mica. It was one of the indispensable minerals used in electrical and electronic industries till recently. However its synthetic substitute has reduced our exports as well as production considerably.
Although mica is widely distributed but workable deposits occur in three belts. They are in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Rajasthan.
- Bihar and Jharkhand produces the high-quality ruby mica. The mica belt in Bihar and Jharkhand extends from Gaya district in the west through Hazaribagh and Munger district to Bhagalpur district in the east. Outside this main belt, mica occurs in Dhanbad, Palamau, Ranchi and Singhbhum district. The state supplies more than 80% of the India’s output.
- In Andhra Pradesh mica is found in a belt in Nellore district.
- Rajasthan is the third largest mica producing state. The mica, bearing zone, covers the districts of Jaipur, Udaipur, Bhilwara, Ajmer and Kishangarh. The quality of mica is inferior.
- Besides these three belts, some deposits occur in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh.
Mica mining in India was mainly done for export. The principal importing country was the U.S.A. which took about 50 percent of the exports.
Limestone is used in a wide range of industries. Limestone with high silica content is preferred in cement industry.
- 76 percent of the country’s total consumption is used in cement industry;
- 16 percent in iron and steel industry;
- 4 percent in chemical industries;
- 4 percent is used by sugar, paper, fertilisers and ferro-manganese industries.
Madhya Pradesh possesses 36 percent of the total reserves. Other major producing states are Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. The remaining part comes from Assam, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, and Meghalaya. Karnataka contributes about 10 percent of the total reserves. They are found in Bijapur, Belgaum and Shimoga districts. In Andhra Pradesh the deposits are found in Visakhapatnam, Guntur, Krishna, Karimnagar and Adilabad districts. Sundargarh district of Orissa; Rohtas district of Bihar and Palamau districts of Jharkhand also have limestone deposits.
Bibliography : NIOS Geography Book