A mineral is a natural substance of organic or inorganic origin with definite chemical and physical properties.
Types of Mineral Resources
- On the basis of chemical and physical properties, minerals may be grouped under two main categories of metallics and non-metallics.
- Metallic minerals are the sources of metals. Iron ore, copper, gold produce metal and are included in this category.
- Metallic minerals are further divided into ferrous and non-ferrous metallic minerals.
- All those minerals which have iron content are ferrous such as iron ore itself and those which do not have iron content are non-ferrous such as copper, bauxite, etc.
- Non-metallic minerals are either organic in origin such as fossil fuels also known as mineral fuels which are derived from the buried animal and plant life such as coal and petroleum. Other type of non-metallic minerals are inorganic in origin such as mica, limestone and graphite, etc.
Agencies involved in the exploration of minerals
- In India, systematic surveying, prospecting and exploration for minerals is undertaken by the Geological Survey of India (GSI), Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC), Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd. (MECL), National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), Bharat Gold Mines Ltd. (BGML), Hindustan Copper Ltd. (HCL), National Aluminium Company Ltd. (NALCO) and the Departments of Mining and Geology in various states.
Distribution of Minerals in India
- Most of the metallic minerals in India occur in the peninsular plateau region in the old crystalline rocks.
- Over 97 per cent of coal reserves occur in the valleys of Damodar, Sone, Mahanadi and Godavari.
- Petroleum reserves are located in the sedimentary basins of Assam, Gujarat and Mumbai High i.e. off-shore region in the Arabian Sea.
- New reserves have been located in the Krishna-Godavari and Kaveri basins.
- Most of the major mineral resources occur to the east of a line linking Mangalore and Kanpur.
- Minerals are generally concentrated in three broad belts in India. belts are :
1. The North-Eastern Plateau Region
- This belt covers Chotanagpur (Jharkhand), Orissa Plateau, West Bengal and parts of Chhattisgarh
- It has variety of minerals viz. iron ore coal, manganese, bauxite, mica.
2. The South-Wester n Plateau Region
- This belt extends over Karnataka, Goa and contiguous Tamil Nadu uplands and Kerala. This belt is rich in ferrous metals and bauxite.
- It also contains high grade iron ore, manganese and limestone.
- This belt packs in coal deposits except Neyveli lignite.
- This belt does not have as diversified mineral deposits as the north-eastern belt. Kerala has deposits of monazite and thorium, bauxite clay. Goa has iron ore deposits.
3. The North-Wester n Region
- This belt extends along Aravali in Rajasthan and part of Gujarat and minerals are associated with Dharwar system of rocks.
- Copper, zinc have been major minerals.
- Rajasthan is rich in building stones i.e. sandstone, granite, marble. Gypsum and Fuller‟s earth deposits are also extensive.
- Dolomite and limestone provide raw materials for cement industry. Gujarat is known for its petroleum deposits
- Ferrous minerals such as iron ore, manganese, chromite, etc., provide a strong base for the development of metallurgical industries.
- Our country is well-placed in respect of ferrous minerals both in reserves and production.
1. Iron Ore
- India is endowed with fairly abundant resources of iron ore. It has the largest reserve of iron ore in Asia.
- 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.
- reserves of iron ore is located in the States of Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
- In Orissa, iron ore occurs in a series of hill ranges in Sundergarh, Mayurbhanj and Jhar.
- The important mines are Gurumahisani, Sulaipet, Badampahar (Mayurbhaj), Kiruburu (Kendujhar) and Bonai (Sundergarh).
- Similar hill ranges, Jharkhand has some of the oldest iron ore mines and most of the iron and steel plants are located around them.
- Goa has also emerged as an important producer of iron ore.
- Manganese is an important raw material for smelting of iron ore and also used for manufacturing ferro alloys.
- Manganese deposits are found in almost all geological formations, however, it is mainly associated with Dharwar system.
- Orissa is the leading producer of Manganese. Karnataka is another major producer
- The disadvantage of Maharashtra mines is that they are located far from steel plants. Non-Ferrous Minerals
- India is poorly endowed with non-ferrous metallic minerals except bauxite.
- Bauxite is the ore which is used in manufacturing of aluminium.
- Bauxite is found mainly in tertiary deposits and is associated with laterite rocks occurring extensively either on the plateau or hill ranges of peninsular India and also in the coastal tracts of the country.
- Orissa happens to be the largest producer of Bauxite. Kalahandi and Sambalpur are the leading producers. The other two areas which have been increasing their production are Bolangir and Koraput. The patlands of Jharkhand in Lohardaga have rich deposits.
- Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are other major producers.
- Copper is an indispensable metal in the electrical industry for making wires, electric motors, transformers and generators.
- It is alloy able, malleable and ductile. It is also mixed with gold to provide strength to jewellery.
- The Copper deposits mainly occur in Singhbhum district in Jharkhand, Balaghat district in Madhya Pradesh and Jhunjhunu and Alwar districts in Rajasthan.
- Among the non-metallic minerals produced in India, mica is the important one. The other minerals extracted for local consumption are limestone, dolomite and phosphate.
- Mica is mainly used in the electrical and electronic industries. It can be split into very thin sheets which are tough and flexible.
- Mica in India is produced in Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan followed by Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh.
- In Jharkhand high quality mica is obtained in a belt extending over a distance of about 150 km, in length and about 22 km, in width in lower Hazaribagh plateau. In Andhra Pradesh. Nellore district produces the best quality mica.
- In Rajasthan mica belt extends for about 320 kms from Jaipur to Bhilwara and around Udaipur. Mica deposits also occur in Mysore and Hasan districts of Karanataka, Coimbatore, Tiruchirapalli, Madurai and Kanniyakumari in Tamil Nadu, Alleppey in Kerala, Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, Purulia and Bankura in West Bengal.
- Mineral fuels like coal, petroleum and natural gas (known as fossil fuels), nuclear energy minerals, are the conventional sources of energy. These conventional sources are exhaustible resources.
- One of the important minerals which is mainly used in the generation of thermal power and smelting of iron ore. Coal occurs in rock sequences mainly of two geological ages, namely Gondwana and tertiary deposits.
- About 80 per cent of the coal deposits in India is of bituminous type and is of noncoking grade.
- The most important Gondwana coal fields of India are located in Damodar Valley. They lie in Jharkhand-Bengal coal belt and the important coal fields in this region are Raniganj, Jharia, Bokaro, Giridih, Karanpura.
- Jharia is the largest coal field followed by Raniganj.
- Tertiary coals occur in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Nagaland.
- Besides, the brown coal or lignite occur in the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir.
- Crude petroleum consists of hydrocarbons of liquid and gaseous states varying in chemical composition, colour and specific gravity.
- It is an essential source of energy for all internal combustion engines in automobiles, railways and aircraft. Its numerous by-products are processed in petrochemical industries such as fertiliser, synthetic rubber, synthetic fibr e, medicines, vaseline, lubricants, wax, soap and cosmetics.
- Crude petroleum occurs in sedimentary rocks of the tertiary period.
- Oil exploration and production was systematically taken up after the Oil and Natural Gas Commission was set up in 1956.
- In recent years, new oil deposits have been found at the extreme western and eastern parts of the country. In Assam, Digboi, Naharkatiya and Moran are important oil producing areas. The major oil fields of Gujarat are Ankaleshwar, Kalol, Mehsana, Nawagam, Kosamba
- Mumbai High which lies 160 km off Mumbai was discovered in 1973 and production commenced in 1976. Oil and natural gas have been found in exploratory wells in Krishna-Godavari and Kaveri basin on the east coast.
- Oil extracted from the wells needs to be refined. There are two types of refineries in India:
(a) field based and
(b) market based.
- Digboi is an example of field based and Barauni is an example of market based refinery.
- There are 18 refineries in India
3. Natural Gas
- The Gas Authority of India Limited was set up in 1984 as a public sector undertaking to transport and market natural gas.
- It is obtained along with oil in all the oil fields but exclusive reserves have been located along the eastern coast as well as (Tamil Nadu, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh), Tripura, Rajasthan and off-shore wells in Gujarat and Maharashtra
Non-Conventional Energy Sources
- Sustainable energy resources are only the renewable energy sources like solar, wind, hydro- geothermal and biomass. These energy sources are more equitably distributed and environmental friendly.
- The non-conventional energy sources will provide more sustained, eco-friendly cheaper energy after the initial cost is taken care of.
1. Nuclear Energy Resources
- Important minerals used for the generation of nuclear energy are uranium and thorium.
- Uranium deposits occur in the Dharwar rocks.
- Geographically, uranium ores are known to occur in several locations along the Singbhum Copper belt. It is also found in Udaipur, Alwar and Jhunjhunu districts of Rajasthan, Durg district of Chhattisgarh, Bhandara district of Maharashtra and Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh.
- Thorium is mainly obtained from monazite and ilmenite in the beach sands along the coast of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
- World’s richest monazite deposits occur in Palakkad and Kollam districts of Kerala, near Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Mahanadi river delta in Orissa.
- Atomic Energy Commission was established in 1948, progress could be made only after the establishment of the Atomic Energy Institute at Trombay in 1954 which was renamed as the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in 1967.
- The important nuclear power projects are Tarapur (Maharashtra) Rawatbhata near Kota (Rajasthan), Kalpakkam (Tamil Nadu), Narora (Uttar Pradesh), Kaiga (Karnataka) and Kakarapara (Gujarat)
2. Solar Energy
- Sun rays tapped in photovoltaic cells can be converted into energy, known as solar energy.
- The two effective processes considered to be very effective to tap solar energy are photovoltaics and solar thermal technology.
- Solar thermal technology has some relative advantages over all other nonrenewable energy sources. It is cost competitive, environment friendly and easy to construct.
- Solar energy is 7 per cent more effective than coal or oil based plants and 10 per cent more effective than nuclear plants. It is generally used more in appliances like heaters, crop dryers, cookers, etc.
- The western part of India has greater potential for the development of solar energy in Gujarat and Rajasthan.(Y)
3. Wind Energy
- Wind energy is absolutely pollution free, inexhaustible source of energy.
- The mechanism of energy conversion from blowing wind is simple. The kinetic energy of wind, through turbines is converted into electrical energy.
- The permanent wind systems such the trade winds, westerlies and seasonal wind like monsoon have been used as source of energy. Besides these, local winds, land and sea breezes can also be used to produce electricity.
- India, already has started generating wind energy. It has an ambitious programme to install 250 wind-driven turbines with a total capacity of 45 megawatts, spread over 12 suitable locations, specially in coastal areas.
- In Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka, favourable conditions for wind energy exist.
- Wind power plant at Lamba in Gujarat in Kachchh is the largest in Asia. Another, wind power plant is located at Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu.
4. Tidal and Wave Energy
- Ocean currents are the store-house of infinite energy.
- Large tidal waves are known to occur along the west coast of India. Hence, India has great potential for the development of tidal energy along the coasts but so far these have not yet been utilised.
5. Geothermal Energy
- When the magma from the interior of earth, comes out on the surface, tremendous heat is released. This heat energy can successfully be tapped and converted to electrical energy. Apart from this, the hot water that gushes out through the gyser wells is also used in the generation of thermal energy. It is popularly known as Geothermal energy.
- This energy is now considered to be one of the key energy sources which can be developed as an alternate source.
- The hot springs and geysers are being used since medieval period. In India, a geothermal energy plant has been commissioned at Manikaran in Himachal Pradesh.
- Bio-energy refers to energy derived from biological products which includes agricultural residues, municipal, industrial and other wastes.
- Bio- energy is a potential source of energy conversion. It can be converted into electrical energy, heat energy or gas for cooking.
- It will also process the waste and garbage and produce energy. This will improve economic life of rural areas in developing countries, reduce environmental pollution, enhance self-reliance and reduce pressure on fuel wood.
- One such project converting municipal waste into energy is Okhla in Delhi.
Conservation of Mineral Resources:
- The alternative energy sources like solar power, wind, wave, geothermal energy are inexhaustible resource. These should be developed to replace the exhaustible resources.
- In case of metallic minerals, use of scrap metals will enable recycling of metals.
- Use of scrap is specially significant in metals like copper, lead and zinc in which India‟s reserves are meagre. Use of substitutes for scarce metals may also reduce their consumption.
- Export of strategic and scarce minerals must be reduced, so that the existing reserve may be used for a longer period.