Iron ore is mainly used in steel plants to manufacture steel. Steel plants mainly utilise hard lump type ore. But recently pelletised ore is becoming more popular. Earlier there was only one pelletization plant at Pali (Goa) with annual capacity of 6 lakh tones to export pelletized ore to Japan. But now such plants have been set up at Bailadila (by NMDC), Daitre (by Orissa Mining Corporation), Hospet (by private sector and state government),
Mangalore, Vishakhapatnam, and Noamundi (by TISCO). Besides there are 5 sintering plants in the country one each attached to Bhilai, Rourkela, Durgapur, TISCO and VISL plants. TISCO, IISCO. VISL, Bhilai Spat, Rourkela Spat and Durgapur plants are the largest consumer of iron ore in the country followed by metallurgical industries.
India is the fourth largest producer of iron ore in the world. Besides meeting its home demand a substantial portion of the iron ore production is exported. Iron ore export is an important foreign exchange earner for the country. In 1990-91 out of the total production of 55.59 million tons of iron ore 32.5 million tons (58.5%) was exported.
The percentage share was reduced to 47.01 and 41.39 during 1995-96 and 199-97 due to rising internal consumption. Table 17.IX depicts trends in the export of iron ore. The country exported only 3.2 million tons of iron ore valued at Rs. 17 crores in 1960-61. By 2002-03 there was about 18 fold increase in the quantity and over 247 time increase in the value of exported iron ore.
Table 17.IX India: Trends in the Export of Iron Ore Source: Indian Economic Survey1-2005-06
Bulk of the supply for the export of iron ore comes from Bailadila(M.P. ),Barajamdaand Daitre (Orissa), Bellary-Hospet, Donemalai and Kudremukh (Karnataka), and Goa. Mormugao, Vishakhapatnam, Paradwip, Mangalore. Haldia and Chennai ports are important for export. These ports have been modernised and connected through rail-links to facilitate the export.
Japan is the most important buyer of Indian ores accounting for 75-80 per cent of our total exports. The East European countries mainly Romania, Poland, Czech. Slovakia is other important importers of Indian iron ores accounting for about 15 per cent of our total exports. The E.E.C. countries come next with over 4 per cent of the total exports. Some amount of iron ore is also exported to the U.S.A., South Korea and China.
The export of iron ore is faced with many problems which include stiff competition from Australia, Malaysia (to Japan), Latin American countries (to west European market), and Russia (to east European market); transport bottlenecks, lack of mechanization, high cost of mining and high freight charges.
Manganese is a black, hard and iron-like metal which occurs as natural oxides in the Dharwar system of rocks. With substantial recoverable reserves (167 million tons) India is the third largest producer (after Russia and Ghana) of Manganese ore in the world.
Manganese ore is an important ingredient in the manufacture of iron and steel. It is also utilised for making ferro-manganese alloy.
Manganese is employed in several chemical industries as an oxidizer, as in the manufacture of bleaching powder, disinfectants, preparation of gases, etc. Manganese dioxide is used for the manufacture of dry batteries; supplied of manganese for manganese salts which are used in photography, leather and match industries. Chloride of manganese is used in cotton textile industry as bronze dye.
It is also utilised for the preparation of colouring materials for glass, pottery- paints and for making coloured bricks. The pink mineral, rhodonite (silicate of manganese), is sometimes cut for gems on account of its attractive colour and appearance.