Iron ore is the basis of modern Industrial world. It influences every walk of human life. It would be correct to say that the present age is one of iron and steel.
Iron ore is the foundation of manufacturing iron and steel and a large number of items used in automobiles, agricultural machines, railway engines and coaches, telecommunication equipment, ornaments etc.
The construction of dams, tunnels, bridges, house construction activity, sky scrapers etc. are due to development of iron and steel which is manufactured after smelting and treating iron ore.
A rapidly increasing demand of iron and steel for innumerable uses has given impetus to iron ore mining. Improvement in means of transportation, advancements in methods of mining and smelting, development of sources of energy, rapid growth of machine tool industry and other industries related to agriculture, transport, military hardwires, tele-communications etc. have further helped in boosting iron ore mining in the country.
Type of Ores.
There are four main types of ores:
Its chemical formula is Fe304- It has 72% of iron content. Its iron has magnetic properties and is black in colour.
Its chemical formula is Fe2C>3. Its colour ranges from black to red. It has 66% Iron content.
Its chemical formula is 2FC2O3. 3H2O. its colour varies from yellow to red.
Its Ore content is 40-50%. It is an inferior quality ore. Iron ore mining is carried on by two methods: (i) Shaft tunnel method, it Open pit mining.
The process of removing impurities of iron ore is known as smelting. It is an expensive, laborious and a highly technical process.
Nature has richly endowed India with iron ore, both in quantity and quality. It has more than 20% of the world’s ore reserves. Most of the Indian iron ores are of the hematite, magnetite and limonite grades. The hematite has forums content up to 70%. It is of the best quality. It occurs in the Dharwar and Cuddapah system of the Peninsula.
The Damuda series of West Bengal and Chattisgarh have large deposits of iron ore. The total recoverable reserves of iron ore in the country (1999) are about 10052
Distribution of Ore.
96% of the total reserves of iron ore are concentrated in Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Goa states. The remaining reserves are located in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
About 50% of India’s reserves of high grade iron ores are in this state. Sundargarh, Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar districts are the major iron ore producers. The Bortaigarh range of Sundargarh district is rich in the production of iron ore. Cuttack and Koraput districts also have scattered patches of iron ore.
Gurumahisani, Sulaipat and Badampahar in Mayurbhanj district, Banspani, Thakurani, Toda, Kodekola, kurband, Phillora and Kiriburu in keonhjar district, Kandadhar Phar, koira and Barsua in Sundargarh district, Daitari in Cuttack district and Amarkot in Koraput district possess haematite deposits.
These areas supply raw material to the steel plants located at Rourkela, Bokaro and Jamshedpur. The Kiriburu mines supply ore to Japan.
Magnetite ores occur near Kumardhubi, Betjharan and Baripada in Mayurbhanj and some minor deposits in Dhenkanal, Ganjam and Sambalpur districts.
Jharkhand ranks second in the production of ore in India. There is high grade of haematite and magnetite ore. Singhbhum district is, in fact, the leader in the exploitation of ore in the country.
The Singhbhum district has a number of ore mines namely Notuburu, Noamandi, Barajmada, Gua and Sasangada. It is largely haematite ore. Magnetite ore is available near Dalton-Ganj in Palamau district.
Dulabera and Sunderpur in Singhbhum district have deposits of Magnetite ore. Magnetite ore is also mined in the districts of Dhanbad, Ranchi, Hazaribagh and Santhal Parganas. The Gua ore mines supply ore to the steel plants of Bhurnpur and kulti.
2. M.P. and Chhattisgarh States.
Nearly 25% of Indian ore is in these two states. The Bailadila range in the Bastar district and Dhali Rajhara range in Durg district are most outstanding. Iron ore is exported to Japan from Bailadila through Vishakhapatnam port. Bhilai Iron and Steel Plant draws ore from Dhali-Rajahara. Jabalpur district also possesses iron ore.
3. Goa State.
The state has poor quality ore reserves. Ore is mined at a number of places. Haematite ore deposits are in the districts of Sahgnalim, Sanguem, Satari, Ponda, Bicholim.
4. Karnataka. Iron ore is found in a number of districts in the state. It is largely haematite ore with 50-60% iron content. The major mining centres are :
Iron ore in this state is mined in the Chandrapur and Ratnagiri districts. Iron content is about 60%. Chandrapur district: Lohora, Pipalgoan, Assola, Suraj, Ratnagiri district : Red, Vengurla, Guidure, Garh.
6. Andhra Pradesh.
Warangal, Cuddaph, Anantpur and Kurnool districts.
7. Tamil Nadu.
Tirunelveli, Coimbatore, Madurai, Ramnathapuram and Salem districts.
Sikar, Udaipur, Alwar and Jaipur districts.
Iron ore is also found in Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir. It is almost insignificant. India exports Iron ore. Mines at Bailadila, Kiriburu and Kudremukh are exploited for export purposes.
The ports like Marmagoa, Paradip, Vishakhapatnam, Haldia and Mangalore handle exports of iron ore. The ports have been modernized and modern and efficient techniques are used for mining, transporting and handling export.
Japan has come up as an important buyer of Indian ore. Romania, Slovania, China, Iran and Poland are other Indian ore buyers. India is an important ore producer in the world. India has made rapid progress in mining and transportation of iron ore.