Copper is the first metal discovered and used by man. It is ductile and freely mixes with other metals. It does not occur by itself but is mixed with gold, silver, lead and zinc. It is one of the most indispensable metals used by the industrial world.
It is mainly used in electricals, automobiles, light and power lines, telephone wires, cables, ammunition. Copper is a good conductor of heat and electricity.
Its use has undergone a sea change from making of weapons, utensils, ornamental goods etc. to different industrial uses. It is a well sought after metal.
Copper is mined in both ancient as well as young rock formations. Copper mining is expensive, laborious and tedious because copper ore contains very less copper. The main copper ores are cuprite, carbonates and sulphides.
Total recoverable copper ore in India is 537-86 million tonnes as on April, 2001. These deposits are in
Singhbhum district: Jharkhand
Balaghat district: M.E
Jhunjhunu district: Rajasthan
Small copper deposits are in Gujarat, Karnataka, A.E Orissa, Sikkim, Meghalya, West Bengal and Maharashtra.
Distribution of Copper Areas in India
The main areas are Bihar (Chhotanagpur Flateau in Jharkhand), A.P. and Rajasthan. Other areas include Tamil Nadu, Karnatka, H.P. and Sikkim states.
It is about 140 km long and is mainly in Singhbhum and extends over to northern Orissa. The copper veins are 2-3 metres on average but 6 metres thick veins are also found. The main mines are Pathargara, Rakha and Surda.
The copper extraction companies have established a copper extraction plant at Ghatshilla (eastern border of Bihar). The annual production is above 6,000 tonnes. Another centre near Ghatshilla is Bhawnbhander.
Besides the main district of Singhbhum, copper is also fonnd in Hazaribagh, Manbhum and Santhal Paragana of Jharkhand state.
A.P. Copper Belt.
The main districts, where copper is fonnd are Nellore and Guntur (Agnigunthal). Besides these Anantpur and Kumool districts also have copper ore deposits.
Rajasthan Copper Belt. The most important area, where copper is extracted is Khetri. The copper belt runs fromJhunjunu to Sikar districts.
The belt is about 80 km long and copper is obtained upto 90 metre depth. Khetri has about 80 million tonnes of copper reserves.
Besides copper, gold, zinc, etc. are also extracted at y-products.
The other districts noted for copper are Bhilwara, Banswara and Udaipur where new veins have been located and work has started.
Other Copper mines are in:
Chitradurg and Hassan districts.
2. J 8c K.:
3. W Bengal:
Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling
Balaghat, Jabalpur, Sagar district.