MINERAL RESOURCES OF INDIA
Mineral resources are the natural means of production which are used in many industries as raw materials. Iron ore, manganese, bauxite, copper, etc., are such minerals.
Minerals are of two types: metallic and non-metallic. Iron ore and copper are metallic minerals while limestone and dolomite are non-metallic minerals.
Metallic minerals are further sub-divided into ferrous and non-ferrous minerals. Those metallic minerals which have iron content belong to the ferrous group. The metallic minerals belonging to the non-ferrous group do not have iron content. Most of the minerals have certain unique characteristics.
DISTRIBUTION OF MINERALS
Some regions of the earth have large deposits of certain minerals, while the others do not have nay deposit. Most of the minerals are exhaustible because they take very long time in their formations. The quality and quantity of minerals in inversely related. Good quality minerals are found in smaller quantity. India is well endowed in many minerals. India’s mineral resources are mainly concentrated in three zones, namely:
(i) North-eastern Zone: the highest degree of concentration of mineral deposits is found in this zone, Coal, iron, manganese, copper, bauxite (aluminium), chromium, beryllium, uranium and non-metallic minerals like mica and diamond are found in this area.
(ii) North-western Zone: Most of the ancient open mines of copper, lead and zin are found here. Sources if crude petroleum and natural gas are also present here
(iii) Southern Zone: Rich is iron ore, especially in magnesite, and the only zone in the country that produces gold.
India is rich in iron, thorium, mica, manganese, bauxite; self sufficient in antimony, building materials, cement materials, clay, chromite, lime, dolomite and gold, but deficient in copper, lead, mercury, zinc, tin, nickel, petroleum products, rock phosphate, sulphur and tungsten. In fact, tine ore is is only found in Chhattisgarh and Odisha has the Asia’s largest chromite deposit, bearing huge quantity of nickel in the form of ore and Chrome Ore Benefication (COB), but there is no viable technology to extract nickel from COB.
Recent studies on the feasibility of mining tungsten in Kerala have proved futile. Mineral resources like potassium are totally absent and have to be imported. Minerals like crude petroleum (which accounts for about 80 per cent of the total value of Indian imports), diamond (uncut), sulphur and rock phosphorus are imported. The state with the highest mineral output is Jharkhand. India is rich in ferrous metals but its reserves of non-ferrous metals are poor. Large size and diverse geological formations have favoured India is providing wider variety of minerals. The high rainfall areas of India lack in limestone, gypsum and salts which are soluble.
The northern plains of India have thick layer of alluvium which have completely concealed the bedrocks. This region of the country is poor in mineral resources. The Himalayas have a variety of rocks but its geological structure is too complex. The exploitation of minerals in this mountainous terrain is not economically viable not only because of the small quantity available at any one location but also because of the difficulty in transportation, sparse population and adverse climatic conditions. It is, thus, evident that our rich mineralised zone with relatively sizeable quantity is confined to the old, crystalline rock structures of plateau and low hills of peninsular India.
OTHER MINERAL Resources in India
(i) Gypsum (Plaster of Paris) India has approximately 124.86 crore tonnes of gypsum deposits, found in Rajasthan (107.08 crore tonnes), Jammu and Kashmir (14.93 crore tonnes) and Tamil Nadu.
(ii) Lead-Zinc. India has approximately 35.85 crore tonnes deposits of lead-zinc. It is mainly found in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Sikkim and Rajasthan. The quality is very poor, with the metallic content only 1.6 crore tonnes of zinc and 0.5 crore tonnes of lead. In terms of metal content, the total reserve of lead is 0.5 crore tonnes and of size 1.6 crore tonnes. Rajasthan is the leading producer of lead and zinc. Zawar mines in Udaipur district are the most important mines of the country. Cuddapah district of Andhra Pradesh; and Banas Kantha, Vadodara, Surat and Panchmahals in Gujarat; Meghalaya and Sikkim are the others areas of lead and zinc deposits. India recorded a total production of about 40,000 tonnes of lead concentrate and 1.12 lakh tonnes of zinc concentrate in 1988. Our country is deficient in lead and zinc. This deficiency is met through imports from Australia and Canada.
(iii) Chromite Main deposits are found in Orissa, Bihar, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Manipur. India has approximately reserves of 1.53 crore tonnes.
(iv) Dolomite Mostly found in Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Werst Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Arunachal Pradesh, the estimated reserve of dolomite are 395 crore tonnes.
(v) Limestone It is produced in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Karnataka. India’s approximate reserves are 7,320 crore tonnes.
(vi) Diamond Mainly found in the Panna diamond belt of Madhya Pradesh, the estimated reserves of this belt are around 10 lakh carats. Till now National Mineral development Corporation (NMDC) is the only organised producer of diamond in India from its Majhgawan mine at Panna. But recently, diamondiferous kimberlite in Manipur area of Raipur district has been discovered, so this might change. Traces are also found in Bihar, Orissa, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
(vii) Salt The maximum production of salt in India is in Gujarat, which is about 60 per cent of country’s total salt production. Salt is an important mineral which is used in the chemical industry. Sodium chloride, known as common salt, is edible and is consumed as a food items. Salt is obtained from seas water, brine springs, wells and salt pans in the lakes of arid regions of Rajasthan. Rock salts are taken out in Gujarat and Mandi area in Himachal Pradesh. Sea brine is the source of salt in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. The important areas of salt production in Rajasthan are Sambhar, Didwana and Pachpadra.
Gold and Silver
Gold( Mineral India ) is valuable metal which occur in auriferous lodes and some of it is found in the sands of several rivers. In India, the total gold ore has a total gold content of 81,060 kg. Karnataka is the leading producer of gold. Kolar goldfields are well known. Hutti goldfield is located in Raichur district of Karnataka, Ramgiri and Yeppamanna goldfields are located in Anantpur district of Rayalseema region of Andhra Pradesh. India produced 1,900 kg of gold in 1988 and 1.61 tonne in 2017-18. It has shown a fluctuating trend over time. Silver is obtained from the lead and zinc ores of Zawar mines in Udaipur and Aguncha-Rampura in Bhilwara district of Rajasthan