A mineral is an aggregate of two or more elements. Its naturally occurring substance of organic or inorganic origin generally occurs in the earth’s crust in the form of ore. It has a definite chemical composition with different crystal structures. India is fairly rich in mineral resources, but the distribution of minerals is highly uneven. India’s mineral wealth is largely confined to Peninsular India, whereas the Himalayan region and the Great Plains of India are almost devoid of metallic mineral resources.
Metallic and Non-Metallic Minerals
There are two major categories of minerals: Metallic Minerals and Non-Metallic Minerals.
Metal Minerals are those in which metal substances are present in their raw form, while Non-Metallic Minerals do not contain any metal element in them.
Metallic Mineral provides a strong base for the development of metallurgical industries. Metallic Minerals include Iron Ore, Manganese, Copper, Chromite, Uranium, Lead, Zinc, Tungsten, Bauxite, Gold, Silver, etc.
Non-Metallic Minerals include Mica, Limestone, Dolomite, Asbestos, Magnesite, Kyanite, Gypsum, Sillimanite, Atomic minerals, etc.
Major minerals are those specified in the first schedule appended in the ‘Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 1957‘.
There is no official definition for Major minerals in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act of 1957. Hence, whichever mineral is not declared as a minor mineral may be treated as a major mineral. The major minerals include Iron ore, Copper, Uranium, Gold, Silver, Coal, Manganese, etc.
Section 3 (e) of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 1957 empowers the Central Government to notify the minor minerals. As per the MMDR Act of 1957, the minor minerals come under the purview of respective State Governments.
According to the MMDR Act 1957, minor minerals mean building stones, gravels, ordinary clay, ordinary sand, and any other mineral that the Central government declares to be a Minor mineral in the Official Gazette. The following are the mineral declared as minor minerals by the Central government:
- Chalcedony pebbles used for ball mill purposes only,
- Brick earth,
- Fuller’s earth,
- Road metal,
- Slate & Shale used for building materials,
- Lime shell, kankar & limestone used in kilns for the manufacture of lime,
- Stone used for making household utensils,
- Quartzite and Sandstone used for purposes of building or making road metal,
- Ordinary earth used for filling or levelling purposes in construction.
In February 2015, the Union Ministry of Mines notified 31 additional minerals as minor minerals in addition to the earlier declared minor minerals, i.e., Marble, Granite, Fuller’s earth, and Bentonite, which are as follows:
- Ball Clay,
- Calcareous Sand,
- China Clay,
- Clay (others),
- Fushchite quartzite,
- Sand (others),
- Silica Sand,
Important Minerals in India
Iron Ore is the most important mineral and the backbone of industrial development in the country. India is the world’s fourth-largest iron ore producer and has large deposits of good-quality iron ore. It is not found in pure form in the earth’s crust. In India, there are four main types of iron ore: Haematite, Magnetite, Limonite, and Siderite.
- Magnetite, also known as black ore, contains 72 per cent of pure iron content.
- Haematite, called ‘oxide of iron‘, contains 60 to 70 per cent of metallic content. It is hard, compact and lumpy iron ore with reddish or coral-red colour.
- Limonite, also known as hydrated iron ore, is yellowish in colour. It is an inferior iron ore containing 35 to 60 per cent of metal.
- Siderite is also called iron carbonate, in which iron content varies between 10 to 40 per cent.
Odisha is the largest producer of Iron Ore, contributing more than 50 percent of the total production in the country. The important iron ore deposits in India are as follows:
|States||Iron Ore deposits|
|Odisha||The most important iron ore deposits in Odisha are Badampahar in the Mayurbhanj district, Bonaigarh range in the Sundergarh district, Banspani & Toda in Kendujhar district, Tomka range in Cuttak district, Kandahar Pahar in Sundergarh district, and Hirapur Hills of Koraput district.|
|Karnataka||Karnataka is the second-largest producer of iron ore deposits, having iron deposits at Bababudan Hills of the Chikmagalur district, Kudermukh deposits in Chikmagalur district, Sandur Range in the Bellary and Hospet district,|
|Chhattisgarh||The main iron ore-producing regions of Chhattisgarh are Bailadila in the Bastar District and Dalli-Rajhara in the Durg district.|
|Goa||Iron ore deposits are found in North Goa in Sanquelim ponda, Pirna-Adolpale-Asnora, Kundem-Surla, and Sirigao-Bicholim-Dalda.|
|Jharkhand||Bonai range in the Bonaigarh district is the main iron deposit of Jharkhand. Naomundi and Daltenganj in the Palamu district are famous iron ore mines.|
India has the world’s seventh-largest reserves of manganese ore and is the world’s sixth-largest producer of manganese. Manganese is hard & brittle silvery metal, which also contains a significant amount of iron. It is used mainly in the manufacturing of Steel, ferroalloys, bleaching power, dry batteries, paints, insecticides, pesticides, etc. It is an important raw material in the iron and steel industry for the smelting of iron.
Odisha has the largest manganese ore reserves, followed by Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, and Andhra Pradesh. Madhya Pradesh is the leading producer of manganese ore in India, contributing more than 30% of total production. It’s followed by Maharashtra (producing 27%) and Odisha (producing 16%).
|Odisha||Manganese deposits in Odisha are found in Bonai, Sundergarh, Kendujhar, Kalahandi, Koraput, and Sambalpur districts.|
|Karnataka||North Kannada, Ballari, Shimoga, Chitradurga, Chikmagalur, and Tumkur districts are the main manganese deposit sites of Karnataka.|
|Madhya Pradesh||The main sites of Madhya Pradesh where the manganese is mined are Balaghat, Chhindwara, and Mandla districts.|
|Maharashtra||Bhandara, Nagpur, and Ratnagiri districts.|
|Andhra Pradesh||Srikakulam, Vishakhapatnam, Guntur, Cuddapah, and Vijayanagram districts.|
Copper is a strong, highly ductile metal and also a good conductor of electricity. It’s a non-ferrous metal with high demand in electrical machinery, the automobile industry, and stainless steel. It is known as Brass when alloyed with Zinc and Bronze when alloyed with tin. Malanjkhand Copper deposit located in Madhya Pradesh near the Kanha National Park is the single largest copper deposit in the country. After Madhya Pradesh, the largest producer of copper ore are Rajasthan and Jharkhand.
|Madhya Pradesh||Malanjkhand Belt of Balaghat district, Bargaon of Betul district.|
|Rajasthan||Khetri-Singhana belt in Jhunjhunu district, Koh-Dariba of Alwar city, and Delwara-Kirovli area near Udaipur district are important producers of copper ore.|
|Jharkhand||Hazaribagh, Gaya, Santhal Pragana, and Palamu districts.|
|Andhra Pradesh||Agnigundala in the Guntur district, and Kurnool and Nellore districts.|
Bauxite is the ore used in the manufacturing of Aluminium. It is an oxide of aluminum. It is a non-specific mineral containing mainly hydrated aluminum oxide. It’s a clay-like substance, which is reddish, whitish, or pinkish in colour depending on the iron content. The largest producer of bauxite in India is Odisha. The other major producers include Gujarat, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu.
|Odisha||Kalahandi-Koraput belt is the main bauxite deposit region. It is also found in Sundargarh, Sambalpur, and Bolangir districts.|
|Gujarat||Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Junagarh, Kachchh, Kheda, and Sabarkantha districts.|
|Jharkhand||Lohardaga mines are known for high-grade bauxite deposits. Dumka, Gumla, Munger, Palamau, and Ranchi are other important districts.|
|Chhattisgarh||Maikal Range, Amarkantak Plateau, Raigarh, Bilaspur, and Surguja districts.|
|Maharashtra||Pune, Kolhapur, Ratnagiri, Satra, and Thane districts.|
|Madhya Pradesh||Balaghat, Jabalpur, Mandla, Katni, and Shahdol districts.|
India is the largest exporter of mica in the world. Mica (Abhrak) is an important non-metallic mineral, having great insulating properties. It is used mainly in the electricity industry, as it can withstand high voltage. It has a unique combination of flexibility, toughness, and elasticity. It can split into thin sheets of specified thickness. In India, Andhra Pradesh is the leading producer of mica, followed by Rajasthan, Jharkhand. Mica is also found in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.
|States||Mica Mining Centres|
|Andhra Pradesh||Nellore, Krishna, Vishakhapatnam, West Godavari, and Khamma districts are the main mica-producing sites of Andhra Pradesh.|
|Rajasthan||Jaipur, Ajmer, Bhilwara, Sikar, Dungarpur, Tonk, and Udaipur districts.|
|Jharkhand||Koderma, Giridih, and Hazaribagh districts.|
|Bihar||Bhagalpur, Munger districts.|
Limestone is an aggregate composed of calcium carbonate, double carbonate of calcium, and magnesium or a mixture of both. Limestone rocks also contain small quantities of iron oxides, silica, alumina, sulphur, and phosphorous. The deposits of the limestone are of sedimentary origin. It is mainly used in cement, iron and steel, and the chemical industry. Almost all states of the country produce some quantity of limestone. The largest producer of limestone in India is Madhya Pradesh. The other main producing States include Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu.
|States||Limestone Mining Centers|
|Madhya Pradesh||Betul, Jabalpur, Rawa, Satna, and Damoh districts.|
|Rajasthan||Ajmer, Alwar, Kota, Nagaur, Bikaner, Chittaurgarh, and Durgapur districts.|
|Andhra Pradesh||Guntur, Kurnool, and Cuddaph districts.|
|Chhattisgarh||Bastar, Bilaspur, and Raigarh districts.|
|Karnataka||Belgaum, Mysore, Bijapur, Chitradurga, and Tumkur districts.|
|Gujarat||Surat, Junagarh, Amreli, and Kheda districts.|
|Tamil Nadu||Coimbatore, Madurai, Ramanathapuram, and Salem districts.|
Dolomite is a type of limestone that contains more than 10% of magnesium. When the magnesium percentage rises to 45, it becomes true dolomite. Dolomite is used mainly for the metallurgical industry, especially in the iron and steel industry. It is widely distributed in almost all parts of the country. The leading producer of dolomite in India is Odisha, followed by Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, and Jharkhand.
|States||Dolomite Mining centers|
|Odisha||Sundargarh, Sambalpur, Koraput, and Gangapur districts.|
|Chhattisgarh||Bastar, Bilaspur, Raigarh, and Durg districts.|
|Andhra Pradesh||Anantapur, Kurnool, and Khammam districts.|
|Jharkhand||Chaibasa, Singhbhum, Palamu districts.|
|Rajasthan||Alwar, Ajmer, Bhilwara, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Nagaur, Sikar, and Udaipur districts.|
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