India has vast deposit of minerals. Our metallic ores are very rich and of a very high quality. They are sufficient for maintaining most of our key industries. The major minerals produced in India are Iron-ore, Bauxite, Mica, Coal and Petroleum.
1. Iron-ore: Presently, India is ranked third in Iron ore production. A large quantity of world’s iron ore reserves is possessed by India. Iron ore of very good quality (Haematite and Magnetite) is obtained from principal areas in Orissa and Singhbhum in Bihar.
Besides these, iron ore is obtained from Durg in Madhya Pradesh and Salem in Tamil Nadu. Deposits of iron ore are also found in Karnataka. Iron-ore contributes a major share the total value of metallic minerals that is produced in India. It is also a good foreign exchange earner next only to tea, sugar, jute and cotton.
2. Bauxite: India is the fifth largest producer of Bauxite in the world. Bauxite is the ore of aluminium. Important bauxite deposits occur in Bihar, Goa, Gujrat, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu. Bauxite deposits are exploited at Lohardaga in Ranchi district. Amarkantaka in Madhya Pradesh contains the largest deposit of bauxite.
3. Mica: India is one of the largest mica-producing countries of the world. India is ranked first in sheet mica production. The Bihar mica is of the very high quality. In India, the largest supply of Mica comes from Bihar. In Bihar the most important areas are Gaya and Hazaribagh in the ‘mica belt’ 150 km. long and 32 km. wide. Another important area is Nellore in Andhra Pradesh. The Nellore mica belt 100 km. long and 25 km wide. It is also obtained from Rajasthan. It is used in electrical industry. Due to poor development of electrical industries at home, India exports most of the output contributing 75% of the world’s requirements.
Al-Bauxite, H—Hmenite, Pb-Zn-Lead-Zinc ore, Au-Gold, M—Mica, U—Uranium ore, Cr—Chromite, P—Rock Phosphate, Na—Salt, Cu—Copper Ore, Mg—Magnesite, R—Refractory mineral, Fe—Iron-Ore and Mn—Manganese Ore.
4. Coal: Coal is unevenly distributed in India. India is one of the principal producers of coal in the world. Bihar and West Bengal produce the largest quantity of coal in India and the quality is good. Jharia, Giridih, Bokaro, Karanpura, etc. in Bihar and Raniganj in West Bengal are the most important mining centers. Besides these areas, coal is found at Talcher in Orissa, Tendur and Singareni in Andhra Pradesh, Pench Valley and Umaria in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar along supplies 44% of India’s total output.
5. Petroleum: India is poor in petroleum resources. Assam has the oldest oilfields at Digboi, Naharkatia, Moran, etc. These oil-fields are situated in the north-eastern part of Assam. The important new oil-fields are at Lunej, Ankleshwer, Kalol—all near the Gulf of Cambay in Gujrat and the Bombay high offshore oil field.
6. Other Minerals: Coppor-ore, diamond, graphite, chromite (FeCr2O4), lead, magnesite ((MgCO3), manganese-ore, etc. are other mineral products of India. Besides these, sand and lime are found in various parts of the country. They are widely used in glass-blowing industries.