Mineral Resources in India
India is an ancient country, which is the largest country in Asia (in terms of area), next only to China. High-rise mountains, large and deep rivers, plains with vast expanses and plateus are found in this country. There is no dearth of sand in an arid state like Rajasthan. In some regions of Orissa and West Bengal, mines of iron ore and coal are found. The iron ore and coal mines of India are very old and the task of extracting coal and iron ore was earlier entrusted to the firms of the Private sector. Some years after the independence of India, these mines were nationalised so that the conditions of labourers working in these mines could be improved. Coal, which is also known as ‘black diamond” had plenty of reserves in India but now, its reserves have depleted to very low values. Most of the coal reserves are in Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal. A few deposits of coal are also found in Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Besides, 200 crore tonnes of lignite (brown coal) have been estimated to be present in deposits. Lignite deposites are located in Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir.
Except for coal, the details of other major mineral resources are as under:
Mineral oils: It has been estimated that there are 900 lakh tonnes of minci-al oil reserves in India. If our mineral oil research programme proves to be successful, then there is a possibility of considerable increase in mineral oil production. There are indications of presence of gargantuan quantities of oil at Bombay High. Despite Herculean efforts, we have been able to fulfil only 43 per cent of our needs. In future, this percentage is likely to increase. The balance of the requirement is met by us by importing oil. Keeping the steadily growing trends of consumption in view, we would have to either find an alternative to mineral oil or increase its production to such an extent that we may be able to meet our oil requirements without importing oil.
Iron: There has been considerable growth in the field of iron production in our country. A considerably large part of iron being manufactured in India is also exported. In our country, both iron production and exports have increased, as expected, by depending on the internal resources.
Manganese: There is a great scope for increasing the production of manganese in India. Manganese is also found in abundance in our country. The demand for manganese is linked to expansion of the iron and steel industry. The reserves of this mineral are found in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Orissa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan. In our country, the total reserves of this mineral are estimated to be 1,820 lakh tonnes, which account for nearly 29.7% of the manganese reserves of the world.
Copper: Whatever quantity of copper is produced in our country, is able to satisfy only 13% of our needs. We have to import copper to satisfy our balance requirements. In India, copper mines are located at Khetri and Sikkim. Through research efforts, hints of the presence of copper ore deposits in other states too. In Jharkhand, the Singhbhoom copper belt is an important copper ore reserve, which is nearly 80 miles in length.
Lead and Zinc: Because of expansion of the activities related to industrialization, it is difficult to meet the demands of these metal through domestic production. Hence, we have to import these metals too. The deposits of lead and zinc are spread far and wide. Some quantities of zinc and lead are found in Kurnool,
Kudappa, Guntoor, Hazaribagh, Kangra and Shimla.
Gold: Its mines are located at Kolar (Mysore) and Hatti. The productions of these mines are in the declining phase and now, the Kolar mine has been closed.
Bauxite: Bauxite is an ore of aluminum. This metal (aluminum) is used to manufacture alumina cement, refine oil and construct buildings and bridges. There are estimated reserves of 2,540 lakh tonnes of bauxite in India.
Chromium: It is used to manufacture special types of steel, carochrome heat resitant bricks and chemicals. There are estimated reserves of 60 lakh tonnes of chromium in the country.
Mica: The maximum use of mica is made as an electrical insulator. Since old times, mica has been used in the manufacture of jewellery and decorative items. Rich deposits of mica are found in Gaya, Munger, Bhagal par (in Bihar) and Hazaribagh (in Jharkhand). Besides, mica is also found in Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.
Mica is exported to the USA, England, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. Mica is such a mineral as generates plenty of profits for India.
Lime Stone: It has many applications. Normally, lime is used to manufacture cement, iron and steel and other chemicals. It has been learned through the latest research studies that there are ample reserves of lime stone in India.
Gypsum: Gypsum is a raw material for the fertilizer and cement industries. The reserves of this mineral are chiefly found in Jamniu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat there are estimated reserves of 11,350 lakh tonnes of gypsum in India. The demand for gypsum is growing at a steady pace for rtiliser and cement industries.
Sulphur Pyrites: Sulphur pyrites is a raw material for the manufacture of sulphur and suiphuric acrd. Its chief reserves are found in Rohtas (in Amjhor) and Chitradurga. It is used to manufacture gun powder and insecticides. In future, our country would become, self-sufficient of the production of sulphur.