In India we get four types of iron ores, viz. (a) hematite (Fe203), magnetite (limonite (2Fe203.3H20), and siderite (Fe2C03).

The hematite ore or red-ochre is called ‘ox­ide of iron’. It has ferrous content ranging from 60 to 70%. It is mainly found in the Dharwad and Cuddapah rocks of the Peninsular India. It is massive, hard, compact and lumpy ore with reddish or ochre red in colour.

Its chief types are laminated hematite, mi­caceous hematite, and haematite-breccia and hematite quartz-schist. Major portion of India’s iron ore de­posits belong to this grade with their concentration in Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

The magnetite ore is dark brown to blackish in color and is termed ‘black ore’. Here ferrous content is often 60 per cent and reaching up to the maximum of 72 percent. The ore is either of igneous origin or metamorphosed banded-magnetite silica formations, probably of sedimentary type.


Magnet­ite ore is mainly found in the Dharwad and Cuddapah systems of the Peninsular rocks in Tamil Nadu (Salem and Trichchirappalli districts), Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh and Kerala states. The sit reserve is at 2,020 million tones. The ore contains titanium, vanadium, chromium and in varying proportions.

The limonite iron ore is yellowish into” with ferrous content between 35-50%. It is c ‘hydrated iron oxide’ wherein iron ore is mixed oxygen and water. It is found in the iron stones of the Damuda series in the Raniganj coalfr Garhwal and Mirzapur districts of Uttar Pradesh the Kangra valley of Himachal Pradesh. Its mini is easier and cheaper.

The siderite iron ore is called ‘iron carbon: with ferrous content between 10-48%. Its colour brown. It is an inferior variety of iron ore.

Iron Ore Reserves


Different sources have made differences (mates about the iron ore reserves in the count’ According to GSI the total inferred reserves of types of iron ores are 2,158.3 crore tones Planning Commission has estimated recover’ reserves of 9,602 million tons of hematite a 3,408 million tones of magnetite iron ores (Indi< 1999, p.443). According to the Indian Mineral Year] book (1983) the total estimated reserves of iron is 12,713 million tons while CM 11, Mumbai (191 predicts the total reserves to be 11,977 million ton (Table 17.VI). Hematite constitutes 74 per cent the total iron ore reserves of the country.

Among the states Bihar (Jharkhand) has the largest reserves™ iron ore (25.77% of India), followed by Orissa (21.72%), Karnataka (20.21%), Madhya Pradesh Chhattisgarh (18.25%) and Goa (11.61%). These five states together provide 97.5 percent of the total iron ore reserves of the country. India has the largest iron ore reserves in Asia.

Production and Distribution

Prior to the Independence, India produced about 20 lakh tones of iron ore per annum. With the launching of Five Year Plans and growth of iron and steel industry, there has been phenomenal increase in the output of iron ore. Second Five Year Plan may be cited as turning point for this accelerated growth as a result of which there was 4.5 times increase in the production of iron ore between 1951 and 1961.


Since then there has been constant increase in the production of iron-ore with highest production of 734.45 lakh tones in 1997-98 (Table 17.VI). Table 17.VII presents growth in the quantity and percent­age increase of iron ore production in India during last 56 years (1947-2003).