India is rich in various kinds of minerals. These minerals are stored mainly in the south India plateaus. Almost no mineral is available in the northern plains. The minerals like iron-ore, manganese, chromite, mica, limestone, coal etc. are chiefly available in abundance in India.
But the minerals like gold, silver, copper, mineral oil etc. are not available according to our demand. Some national organisations like the Geological Survey of India and the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (O.N.G.C.) have been constituted to investigate the mineral resources of India.
The mineral resources of India may be divided into three categories, such as: (a) Metallic minerals, (b) Non-metallic minerals and (c) Mineral fuel.
(a) Metallic minerals:
Iron-ore, manganese, chromite, bauxite etc. are the chief metallic minerals available in India.
India occupies the 4th position in the world in production of iron-ore. The principal iron mines of India are in Bihar, Orissa, Goa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. The famous iron mines are at Nuamundi, Gua and Badjamda in Singhbjum district of Bihar, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Cuttack districts of Orissa and Kudremukh and Hospet district of Karnafaka.
Iron-ores are also mined at Salem of Tamilnadu, Chandrapur and Ratnagiri of Maharashtra, Durg and Bastar of Madhya Pradesh and Kurnool and Nellore districts of Andhra Pradesh. After fulfilling the demands of the iron and steel plants of the country, we export the balance ores to Japan, Norway, and Sweden etc. India earns a good deal of foreign exchange out of this export.
It is used in making steel. India occupies the fourth position in the world in the production of manganese. The manganese mines are located at Nagpur and Ratnagiri of Maharashtra, Balaghat and Chhindwara of Madhya Pradesh, Singhbhum of Bihar and the districts of Sundargarh, Koraput, Kalahandi and Bolangir of Orissa. About half of the total output of manganese is exported from India to the countries like U.S.A., U.K., Japan, West Germany and France.
It is used in steel industry and leather industry. Cuttack and Keonjhar districts of Orissa, Bandra and Ratnagiri of Maharashtra, Singhbhum of Bihar, Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, Mysore and Hassan of Karnataka and the district of Salem of Tamilnadu are famous for chromite mines.
It is a very valuable mineral. A small quantity of gold is available in India. Gold is mined at Kolar and Hutti of Karnataka and at Ramagiri in the district of Anantapur of Andhra Pradesh. Gold also occurs at Nigeria of Tamilnadu, Kozhikode of Kerala and Jhun Jhun district of Rajasthan. Gold serves as the most vital element of international banking. It controls the country’s monetary system as it is the accepted standard of foreign exchange.
It is very much necessary in electrical industries. It is also used as an alloy to make brass utensils. The chief copper mines of India are located at Mosabani and Patharagarh of Bihar and Khetri of Rajasthan. In addition to it copper deposits are also located at Balaghat of Madhya Pradesh. Jhun Jhun and Alwar of Rajasthan and Chitradoorg district of Karnataka.
Aluminium metal is produced from the bauxite ore. India is self-sufficient in production of this mineral-ore. Bauxite occurs at Lohardaga and Maidanpat of Bihar, Bhawnagar and Junagarh of Gujarat, Surguja and Raigarh of Madhya Pradesh, Belgaon of Karnataka, Chandgiri, Panchapattamali and Gandhamardan of Orissa.
Lead, zinc and silver:
These minerals are available in small quantities in India. Lead and zinc are mined at Zawar of Rajasthan. Lead mines are also located at Kalimati of Bihar. Silver is collected from Sawar of Rajasthan and from the gold mines at Kolar and Hutti of Karnataka. Besides, it is known that these metals are also deposited in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Orissa and Sikkim.
(b) Non-metallic minerals:
Limestone, mica and gypsum are the main non-metallic minerals produced in India. These are mainly used in iron and steel, cement and electric industries.
It is mainly used in iron and steel and cement industries. Limestone mines are located at Biramitrapur and Dunguri of Orissa. Katri and Reba of Madhya Pradesh, Rohtasgarh of Bihar and Bundi and Jodhpur of Rajasthan. Moreover, limestone is also available in the States of Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka.
Mica is indispensable in electrical industries Mica mines are located at Hazaribag, Gaya and Mangy districts of Bihar, Nellor and.Guddur of Andhra Pradesh and Bhilwara, Jeypore and Ajmer districts of Rajasthan. The Kodarma Copper Mines of Hazaribag districts are famous in India. India occupies the first position in the world in mica production.
Gypsum is used in paper, fertilizer, cement and chemical industries. Gypsum mines are located at Tiruchinapalli of Tamilnadu, Jodhpur, Bikanir and Jaisalmir of Rajasthan, besides, gypsum is also found in some areas of Jammu and Kashmir and Tamilnadu.
(c) Mineral Fuel:
The minerals used as fuel to supply energy are called as ‘mineral fuel’. The most important of those are coal, mineral oil and nuclear energy minerals.
Coal has been formed out of the fossils of the forests which were buried in the interior of the earth in very ancient age. It occurs in the layers of rocks. Coal is classified into four categories on the basis of its carbon content and heating capacity. They are; Anthracite, Bituminous, Lignite and Peat. Anthracite coal has the maximum carbon content and heating capacity.
So it is the best quality of coal. Peat has the minimum carbon content and it is an inferior grade of coal. The bi-products of coal are coal-tar, ammonia, different kinds of paints and chemicals. Thermal electricity is generated in thermal power station by using coal as the fuel.
Bihar produces the maximum quantity of coal in India. The main coal fields of the country are located at Jharia, Bokaro and Dhanbad of Bihar, Ranging and Burdhwan of West Bengal, Sahadol and Surguza of Madhya Pradesh, Adilabad and Karim Nagar of Andhra Pradesh and Talcher and Rampur of Orissa. Besides, coal-mines are also located in Maharashtra, Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland.
Mineral oil is deposited in the interior of the earth, being mixed with water, natural gas and other materials in the sedimentary rock layers. It is available both in land and in the continental shelves of seas. It is pumped out of the earth’s interior. It is refined in the refineries and petrol, diesel, kerosene; vaseline, paraffin etc. are produced out of it.
Crude oil is pumped out of the wells of Digboi and Naharkatiya of Assam, Ankleshwar and Kosamba of Gujarat and the Mumbai High on the continental shelf area off-coast Maharashtra, about 176 kms. North-west of Mumbai. Recently oil exploration and production have been experimentally started in the deltas of the Knavery and the Godavari rivers in the east coast of India.
India is deficient in oil-production. So it is dependent on imports of crude oil to the extent of 65 per cent to feed the refineries and meet the demand of the country. There are many oil refineries to refine the crude oil produced in the country and imported from abroad. The important refineries are located at Haldia of West Bengal, Guahati and Digboi of Assam. Mathura of Uttar Pradesh, Barauni of Bihar, Mumbai (Trombay) of Maharashtra, Koyali of Gujarat. Visakhapatnam of Andhra Pradesh and Cochin of Kerala.
Nuclear Energy Minerals:
The radio-active minerals like uranium, thorium, ilmenite, monazite etc. are known as nuclear energy minerals. These minerals are used as fuels for generation of atomic energy. Uranium is available at Jaduguda in Singhbhum district of Bihar. Thorium occurs in Bihar and Rajasthan. Limonite and monazite are obtained from the sands of the sea coasts of Kerala, Orissa and Tamilnadu. Rare earth (from which monazite is obtained) is collected from Ganja coast of Orissa.