Mineral is a naturally occurring, homogeneous inorganic solid substance having a definite chemical composition and characteristic crystalline structure, color, and hardness
Minerals are valuable natural resources that are finite and non-renewable. The history of mineral extraction in India dates back to the days of the Harappan civilization. The wide availability of minerals in the form of abundant rich reserves and the ecogeological conditions make it very conducive for the growth and development of the mining sector in India. India is particularly rich in the metallic minerals of the ferrous group such as iron ores, manganese, chromite and titanium. It has the world’s largest reserves in mica and bauxite.
Minerals are a valuable natural resource being the vital raw material for infrastructure, capital goods and basic industries. As a major resource for development the extraction and management of minerals has to be integrated into the overall strategy of the country’s economic development. The exploitation of minerals has to be guided by longterm national goals and perspectives. Just as these goals and perspectives are dynamic and responsive to the changing global economic scenario so also the national mineral policy has to be dynamic taking into consideration the changing needs of industry in the context of the domestic and global economic environment.
Minerals are broadly divided into two groups metallic and non metallic minerals. Metallic minerals are further subdivided into ferrous and non ferrous minerals.
Metallic minerals are minerals which contain one or more metallic elements.Metallic minerals occur in rare, naturally formed concentrations known as mineral deposits. These deposits can consist of a variety of metallic minerals containing valuable metals such as nickel (pentlandite), copper (chalcopyrite), zinc (sphalerite), lead (galena) and gold (occurs as a native element or as a minor constituent within other minerals) that are used in all aspects of our daily lives.Metallic minerals must be broken apart and chemically processed to extract the useful metal from the mineral.
Ferrous minerals account for about three-fourth of the total value of the production of metallic minerals. They constitute the most important mineral group after fuel minerals. They include iron, manganese, chromite, pyrite etc. These minerals provide a strong base for the development of metallurgical industries, particularly iron, steel and alloys.
The two main types of ore found in our country are haematite and magnetite. It has great demand in international market due to its superior quality. The iron ore mines occur in close proximity to the coal fields in the north-eastern plateau region of the country which adds to their advantage. Major iron ore deposits in India, distributed in five zones designated as Zone – I to Zone-V, have been identified in the country on commercial ground.
Most of iron ore found in the country is of three types:- Haematite, magnetite and limonite.
Haematite ore contains up to 68 percent of iron. It is red in color and is often refered to as ‘red ore*. Next to haematite in quanitity and richness is the magnetite ore. It contains up to 60 percent of the iron. It is dark brown to blackish in colour, and is often referred as ‘black ores’, Limonite is the third type of ore which has iron content of 35-50 percent.
- Zone-I group of iron ore deposits occur on the Bonai Iron Ore Ranges of Jharkhand and Orissa States and in the adjoining areas in Eastern India,
- Zone-II group comprises iron ore in Karnataka , Maharashtra , Orissa , Manipur Tamil Nadu , Geology and Mineral Resources of India ore deposits in the 225-km.-long north-south-trending linear belt in central India comprising the States of Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra (East).
- Zone – III deposits occur in Bellary-Hospet regions of Karnataka while the
- Zone – IV deposits cover the rich magnetitic deposits of Bababudan-Kudremukh area of the same State in south India.
- Zone – V deposits cover iron ore deposits of Goa. In addition, in south India, magnetite-rich banded magnetite quartzites occur in parts of Andhra Pradesh near the East Coast while in Tamil Nadu good deposits of magnetite occur in Salem district and in neighbouring areas.
Copper is malleable, ductile and a good conductor, copper and thus is mainly used in electrical cables, electronics and chemical industries.
The Balaghat mines in Madhya Pradesh, Khetri mines in Rajasthan and Singhbhum district of Jharkhand are leading producers of copper.Largest resources of copper ore to a tune of 809 million tonnes (53.54%) are in the state of Rajasthan followed by Madhya Pradesh with 287.67 million tonnes (19%) and Jharkhand with 295.96 million tonnes (19.59%). Copper resources in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and West Bengal accounted for remaining 7.87% of the total all India resources.
Bauxite is a non-ferrous metallic mineral. It is the ore from which aluminium metal is produced. Aluminium extracted from the ore is used in making aeroplanes, electrical appliances and goods, household fittings, utensils etc. Bauxite is also used for manufacturing of white colour cement and certain chemicals. India’s reserves of bauxite of all grades have been estimated at 3037 million tonnes.
The deposits in AP and Orissa (Eastern Ghats) with a total reserve of about 1650 Mt constitute one of the largest bauxite deposits in the world. Orissa continues to be the leading state accounting for 59% of the total production of the country. is also rich in deposits. It occurs in the high hilltops of the Chhotanagpur plateau as residual deposits. Bauxite occurs as segregated sheets, pockets, patches and lenses within laterite cappings over the traps and gneisses. Extensive deposits of bauxite are found in the western Chhotanagpur plateau area falling in and districts and adjoining district.
Manganese is an important raw material for smelting of iron ore and also used for manufacturing ferro alloys. Karnataka has the largest recoverable reserves (64.55 million tones) of manganese ore in the country. Managanese ore minerals occur in close association with haematite and carbonates as stratiform, lenticular, patchy or pockety deposits of varying dimensions, within various greenstone belts. Andhra Pradesh contributes about 90% of the manganese ore production in the country. The manganese ore here is mainly associated with kodurites of the Khondalite Group in Eastern Ghats and Penganga beds in the Pakhal Basin. Orissa accounts for one third of the country’s annual production of manganese and possesses the second largest recoverable manganese reserve in the country i.e. 50.36 million tonnes of all grades, next to that of Karnataka. Manganese ores are mined in Singhbhum district in between Noamundi and Gua and from south of Chaibasa.