India has a variety of mineral resources that play a very important role in the industrial development of the country.
India has large deposits of Iron ore, manganese ore and bauxite ore.
India has a virtual monopoly over mica.
India is self-sufficient in coal but coking coal is limited.
India has small deposits of zinc, copper, lead and gold.
It lacks sulphur and is poor in the production of mineral oil and natural gas. We have small deposits of minerals required for nuclear energy.
India has some of the world’s largest reserves of iron ore.
India stands second, next to Russia, in the world in iron ore reserves.
The two important types of iron ores available in India are hematite and magnetite.
Orissa and Jharkhand have the largest iron ore deposit in India. The richest iron ore belt is the U-shaped range from Singhbhum district in Jharkhand passing through Keonghar, Mayurbhanj and Sundargarh districts in Orissa.
The ore is hematite with 60-65% of iron. Raipur, Durg and Bastar districts of Chhattisgarh are noted for iron ore production.
There are iron ore reserves in Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu and Karnataka. Kemmangundi in Chikkamagalur district, Hospet and Sandur in Bellary district in Karnataka have hematite ore.
In recent years magnetite ore is mined at Kudremukh in Karnataka. Maharashtra also has some iron ore deposits.
The iron ore produced in India is used by the iron and steel plants located in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
India exports iron ore to Japan and other countries thus earning foreign exchange. Japan imports 55% of the total iron ore produced in India. Iron ore is exported through the ports of Marmagoa, Mangalore, Vishakhapatnam, Paradeep and Haldia.
Manganese ore is an important ferro-alloy, which is smelted with iron ore to produce steel.
The hardness of steel depends on the quantity of manganese ore used in its production.
Manganese ore is also used in chemical industry, electrical industry and production of varnishes.
Indian manganese ore is high quality. Pyrolusite and psilomelane are the important ores of manganese.
Orissa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are the important manganese ore producing states of India.
The other states which produce manganese ore are Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Goa.
Most of the manganese ore deposits are close to the iron ore deposits and this is convenient for the production of steel.
India exports manganese ore through Haldia, Vishakhapatnam, Marmagoa and Mumbai ports to the USA, Europe and Japan.
India has the largest deposits of mica in the world and has monopoly over mica. 60% of the world's total production of mica comes from India.
It has some special qualities, the important among them are insulation and elasticity. So it is very useful in electrical industry, which has a great demand.
Indian mica is considered to be the best mica in the world.
The important states, which produce mica, are Jharkhand, Bihar, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. Hazaribagh district in Jharkand and Gaya and Munger districts of Bihar produce nearly half of India’s mica.
It is a very good conductor of heat. It is used in electrical industry.
Copper was used by early civilisations for household utensils.
Most of India’s copper is found in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Madhya Pradesh.
India’s production of copper is not sufficient to meet the country’s demand. So we import copper from the USA, Canada, Zambia, Japan and East Africa.
India has very small deposits of gold.
Until India attained Independence the only gold mines were Kolar Gold Fields. Now, the gold is mined at Hutti in Raichur district of Karnataka and Ananthpur district of Andhra Pradesh.
Kolar Gold Fields are very deep and gold is getting exhausted. Many mines are being closed down.
Gold deposits in small quantities are also found in Bihar, Kerala and Tamilnadu.
Gold in the form of veins is found in quartz rocks at Kappatagudda near Gadag district in Karnataka state.
Power resources is one of the most important natural resources and is very essential for the economic development of a country.
Coal, petroleum, natural gas, hydel power and nuclear power are some of the important power resources.
The other power resources are wind energy, tidal energy, geothermal energy, solar energy and biogas.
Coal is the most important source of energy in India. About 98% of India’s coal belongs to the Gondwana Age. During this period, luxuriant forests were submerged and after millions of years, due to a lot of heat and pressure, they were converted into coal.
Coal is not only a power resource but it also provides many bi-products.
Coal is known as “Black diamond”. Anthracite and Bituminous coal are the two kinds of coal.
The coalfields are widely distributed in Damodar river valley. Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal states produce 89% of India’s coal.
Chhattisgarh has the largest coal deposits. Jharia, Bokaro, Giridih and Karanpur are important coalfields.
Jharia has the best coking coal, which is required for smelting of iron ore. It is the largest producer of coking coal in India.
Raniganj coalfield is the largest coalfield in India.
Coal is in great demand for railway engines, steamers and for the production of thermal energy.
The river valleys of Godavari, Mahanadi, Son and Wardha have smaller coalfields. The important coalfields are Sohagpur of Madhya Pradesh and Korba of Chhattisgarh. There are also coalfields in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. Indian coal is poor in quality.
The superior coking coal is used for smelting iron ore and the inferior coal is used for the production of thermal energy.
State-wise distribution of Coal Resources and its categorisation (As on 01.04.2010)
Geological Resources of Coal
(in Million Tonnes)
PETROLEUM AND NATURAL GAS
Petroleum is the second important power resource. Petroleum is called “liquid gold”, since it is used in all economic activities.
Most of the petroleum and natural gas of India are found in Assam and Gujarat. Petroleum was first discovered at Digboi in Assam and it was the only producer of oil until Independence. Now oil is produced from oil wells in Lakhimpur and Naga region (Hugrijan, Moran and Naharkatiya).
New oil fields have been recently discovered by the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) in the Brahmaputra valley at Rudrasagar and Lakwa. Gujarat basin is another oil producing area. The ONGC conducted exploration and drilled the first oil well at Ankleshwar. Now many oil wells are dug in this region. In 1974 oil was discovered In the Arabian Sea at Bombay High (110 kms from Mumbai) and commercial production was started in 1976. This is the largest oil field of India. Offshore drilling platform, Sagar Samrat, was bought from Japan to drill the oil. Recently oil deposits have been discovered in the deltaic regions of Kaveri, Krishna, Godavari and Mahanadi.
Natural gas is another source of power. It is found along with petroleum or separately. Bombay High is the largest producer of natural gas.
The other regions which produce natural gas are Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu. Digboi was the only oil refinery till 1954.
Now we have 17 oil refineries. Recently a new refinery was set up at Mangalore. India does not produce enough petroleum, so it imports crude oil from Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Russia.
India is deficient in petroleum and coal resources. So there is a great need for the use of other sources of energy.
India has small deposits of nuclear minerals. India has also developed the technology for producing atomic energy.
Uranium, thorium, plutonium and berilium are the important minerals used for the production of atomic energy.
The first nuclear plant was set up at Tarapur in Maharashtra in 1969. The other nuclear plants that were set up later are at Ranapratap Sagar in Rajasthan, Kalpakam in Tamilnadu, Narora in Uttar Pradesh and Surat in Gujarat.
Recently nuclear plants were set up at Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh and Kaiga in Karnataka.
The first five plants are located in places far away from coal and petroleum deposits and hydel projects.
There was a lot of local protest against the Kaiga nuclear plant, due to the fear that radio active gases, which would be given out, would cause destruction to the evergreen forests. But it has started producing atomic energy from 2001. It has the capacity of producing 440 M.W. power.
India has a vast scope for the development of hydel power. The North-Eastern region has more potential to produce hydel power. Almost all the states of India produce hydel power.
Andhra Pradesh leads in the production of hydel power in India. The first successful power plant was started on Kaveri river at Shivana Samudram in 1902 in Karnataka.
Later Tata hydro-electric power station was started in the Western Ghats in Maharashtra.
Pykara project was the first hydel project in Tamilnadu.
‘Mandi power house’ project was the first project in the Himachal Pradesh.
Some of the other hydel power projects are Mahatma Gandhi project at Jog Falls on Sharavathi river, Kalinadi project, Ghataprabha and Varahi projects in Karnataka; Shabaragiri and Idikki projects in Kerala; Salal hydel project in Jammu and Kashmir; Nagarjuna Sagar and Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh.
OTHER SOURCES OF ENERGY
The conventional sources of energy such as coal, petroleum and natural gas are exhaustible resources, so India has developed many other sources of energy during the Five Year Plans, namely non-conventional sources of energy.
The important non-conventional sources of energy are solar energy, wind energy, bio-gas, tidal energy, geo-thermal energy etc.
The states of Gujarat, Tamilnadu, Maharashtra and Orissa have favourable conditions for the generation of wind energy. Kanyakumari region of Tamilnadu produces the largest quantity of wind energy in our country. “Wind energy technological station” has been set up at Chennai to develop wind energy.
OTHER SOURCES OF ENERGY
The Gulf of Kachchh and Khambat (Cambay) are ideally suited for the generation of tidal energy, Recently, tidal energy producing station has been set up in “Sundarbans” in W.Bengal to produce tidal energy in small quantity.
Geo-thermal energy is produced from hot springs. There are about 340 hot water springs in India, which are helpful to produce geo-thermal energy. Himachal Pradesh is noted for the production of geo-thermal energy.
Urban waste, sewage, and animal waste can be used to generate energy. It is called bio-gas or gobar gas. It can be used for domestic purposes as well as for community purposes.
India has a favourable location for the development of solar energy. India has already made progress in the use of solar energy for daily requirements.
It is a equi-stable energy and can rightly be called the energy of the future, because it is an inexhaustible source of energy.
Solar energy station at Baramar in Rajasthan was set up to produce large quantities of solar energy. Solar energy is used as a source of electricity in villages. It is also used in railway signals, lift irrigation, and for communication media.
Solar cookers and solar heaters are very popular. It is also used in desalination of water and drying of grains.
At Gurgaon near Delhi, a centre has been opened to carry out special research in solar energy.