(Last Updated on : 29/07/2011)
Indian mines and minerals occupy an important part in the economic scenario of India. Post-independence, the mining industry in India has developed manifold and numerous modern techniques and methods are applied for mining. But mining in the country has been carried from ancient times and is almost over 6000 years old. Mining and mineral industries in India includes both metallurgical and mineral mining industries and together they form the backbone of the industrial development of India as they supply the basic raw materials like coal, petrol, mining minerals, steel, copper, Aluminium
metals and others to the India manufacturers.
India produces 89 minerals out of which 4 are fuel minerals, 11 metallic, 52 non-metallic minerals and 22 minor minerals. In India, 80% of mining is in coal and the balance 20% is in various metals and other raw materials such as gold, copper, iron, lead, bauxite, zinc and uranium. Coal
has been a major contributor in providing energy security during the past century. But it is not a renewable resource, as with time the supply of coal will deplete. It is possible that this pattern may change and there could be emphasis on uranium and thorium based power plants during the later part of the 21st century in addition to the emphasis on renewable energy sources.
India is rich with various types of minerals like Iron
-Ore, Chromite and Zinc Concentrates, Gold
Ore, and Bauxite
, Lead concentrates which account for the metallic production. Amongst the non-metallic minerals, more than 90 percent of the aggregate value is shared by Limestone, Magnesite, Dolomite, Barytes, Kaolin, Gypsum, Apatite and Phosphorite, Steatite and Fluorite. India is the world`s largest producer of Mica blocks and Mica
splitting. With the recent spurt in world demand for Chromite, India has stepped up its production to reach the third rank among the Chromite producers of the world. Besides, India ranks 3rd in production of coal & lignite and Barytes, 4th in Iron Ore, 6th in Bauxite and Manganese ore, 10 in Aluminium and 11th in Crude Steel in the World.
It was only after independence that the Indian mines and minerals sector experienced a phenomenal increase in growth rate. In total there are 84 minerals being produced in India including 4 fuels, 11 metallic, 49 non-metallic industrial and 20 minor minerals. The products of Indian mines and minerals sector consist of Coal, Lignite, Limestone, Iron Ore, Bauxite, Copper, Lead, Zinc and many more contributed by over 3100 mines located all over the country. Productions from open cast mines account for more than 80 percent of the total mineral production in the country. So the quantity of minerals being taken out annually from the Indian mines can be determined by totalling up the quantity of overburden with the annual mineral production.
Indian mines are scattered unevenly throughout the country based on the topography and accumulation of minerals in the region. Most of the mines are located in Orissa plateau and Chota Nagpur Plateau spreading over West Bengal
. Moreover, Karnataka
, Andhra Pradesh
, Chattisgarh, Tamil Nadu
, Madhya Pradesh
are also rich with minerals and have numerous mines which significantly contribute to the economy of the state.
Indian Diamond Mines
India is no longer a source for rough diamonds. Although most of India`s diamond mines were depleted centuries ago, there is one active diamond mine at Panna in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The National Mineral Development Corporation owns the mine. De Beers India is currently prospecting in the Madhya Pradesh region as well as in the southern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. The De Beers mining operation will be a joint venture with Hindustan Diamond, be based in Mumbai
. The term Golconda
is still used today as an indicator of very high quality diamonds. To justify the Golconda name, diamonds must have a level of transparency and quality found only in rare, chemically pure type-II-a natural diamonds. The term Golconda is also used as a generic term to describe higher quality diamonds with an antique cut.
Indian mines and minerals industry provides employment to over 1.1 million people with 16 percent share in India`s export. India is the largest producer of mica in the entire world. It ranks third in the production of coal and lignite and barites. India is also one of the world`s top producers of iron ore, bauxite, manganese ore and aluminium.