The copper deposits mainly occur in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar-Jharkhand, Karnataka, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. At present over 99 per cent of the country production of copper comes from three states off Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jharkhand.
Madhya Pradesh-Madhya Pradesh account for 20.2 percent of the estimated reserves and 56.861 per cent of the total production of copper in the country. The Malan Jharkhand area of Blight district has a large deposit of copper ore with estimated reserves of 65 million tones and mineral content of 1.35 per cent.
The deposit (3.5 km long and 2.5 km wide) is a massive quartz reef traversing the gneissic granites in the Pre-Cambrian Philpighat Schist’s it is the first large open-cast mining project launched by the HCL. Phillies in the Byriot of Sidhi district and the Malia area of Jabalpur district have smaller Deposits of copper ore.
Rajasthan-Rajasthan is the second largest producer of copper ore in the country contributing 20.81 percent of the reserves and 40.52 per cent of the output. In Rajasthan the Khetri-Singhana area in’ Jhunjhunu district and the Kho-Dariba area in Alwar district are the most important copper ore bearing regions in the state.
The Khetri copper belt extends for about 80 kms, from Singhana (Jhunjhunu district) to Raghunathgarh (Sikar district) with Kolihan, Mandhan, Khetri, Akhwali and Berkhera as important mining centers. Here ores occur as sulphides mostly chal-copyrite, pyrrhotite and pyrite in shear zones of chlorite schist’s, Phillies and quartzite’s. The estimated total reserves are at 70 million tones with copper content between 0.8 and 3.0 per cent. The Hindustan Copper Corporation Ltd. has set up a beneficiation plant at Khetri for the treatment of ores which has an installed capacity of 57,000 tones (to be raised to 72,000 tones).
In Kho-Dariba area, situated about 48 km south-west of Alwar city, the ore occurs in lodes or veins of the Phillies, quartzites and biotitic schist’s. Copper ore is also found in Delwara’ Kerovli and Debari areas in Udaipur, district, in Ahirwala and Baleshwar areas in Sikar district; and in scattered localities in Bhilwara, Churu and Jhalawar districts.
Jharkhand-With 44 per cent of the total copper ore reserves of the country Jharkhand contributes about 2.6% of the national output of copper. Singh hum district is the most important copper bearing region of the country. Here copper belt runs for about I40 km from Duarpuram in the west to Bahragora in the east via Amda, Rakha and Mosabani with estimated reserves of 80 million tonnes and mineral content of 1.35-2.74 per cent. A second zone follows the Lota Pahar Fault south of the first belt.
The copper deposits occur as veins and lodes in granites, mica schists, quartz schists and epidiorite-hornblendite schists. Important deposits occur at Mosabani, Rakha, Dhobani, Rajdah, Surda, Pathargora, Roam-Siddheshwar, Tamapahar, Turamdih and Nandup. The richest ores are found between Rajdah and Badia. The Rakha mines have been developed by the Hindustan Copper Ltd. which produces about 3,500 tons of copper metal annually.
Deposits of copper ore have also been located in Baraganda, Jaradih, Parasnath, Hasatu and Barkanatha areas of Hazaribag district; Bairakhi in Santhal Parganas and in some scattered areas of Gaya (Bihar) and Palamau districts.
Andhra Pradesh-The 3-km long Agnigundala copper belt between Cantalapalem and Dhukonda in Guntur district with main occurrences at Bandalamottu, Nallakonda and Dhukonda contains the most important copper ore deposits in South India. It preserves about 50 lakh tonnes of carbonate and sulphate ores with Cu contents between 1.38 and 1.82 per cent. Minor deposits occur at Ganikalva, Gumankonda, Somalapilli (Kurnool district), Garimanipenta (Nellore district) and Zangamraju Varikunta-Chelima areas.
Others-Deposits of copper ore are found at Ingladhal (Chitradurga district), Kalyadi (Hasan district) in Karnataka; Mamandur area (South Arcot district) in Tamil Nadu; Tuaneswasha (Chandrapur district) in Maharashtra; Kullu valley (Kangra district) in Himachal Pradesh; Garhwal and Almora districts in Uttaranchal; Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling districts in West Bengal; and East Sikkim District of Sikkim.
India is not self-sufficient in respect of copper-ore production. Every year it imports a substantial portion of its requirements mainly from U.S.A., Canada, Zimbabwe, Japan, Mexico and East Africa. In 1988-89 India imported 76,000 tons of copper metal. It reached 10.62 lakh a tonne (Rs. 443.5 crore) is 1998-99 but came down to 1600 tones is 2002-03.