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Indian Geography / Mineral Resources

Metallic Minerals in India

Classification of minerals is done based on whether the minerals contain metals or non-metals. Metallic minerals in India are somewhat scarce except those which contain ferrous metals. There exists two types of metallic minerals, namely ferrous metallic minerals and non-ferrous metallic minerals. Similarly, there exists two types of non-metallic minerals, namely non-metallic fuel minerals and non-metallic non-fuel minerals.

Mineral Resources in India

Mineral resources in India are generally found in the rock crust of the earth. Minerals are also found in the cracks, crevices, faults and joints of Metamorphic and Igneous rocks. Smaller occurrences of minerals are known as Veins and occurrence of larger ones are known as Lodes.

A number of minerals in India are present in the beds or layers of sedimentary rocks, e.g. Coal, Gypsum, Potash, Sodium salts, etc. Peninsular rocks consist of most of the reserves of coal, mica, metallic minerals and other non-metallic minerals found in India. Petroleum deposits are present in Gujarat, Assam and the western and eastern flanks of the Indian peninsula.

India has surplus reserves of best quality ferrous metals and is in a position to export these metals but non-ferrous metal reserves are few and the quality is also inferior. India is dependent on imports for non-ferrous metals.

Mineral Resources in India

Ferrous Metallic Minerals

The metals that come under ferrous metals category are Iron, Manganese, Nickel, Cobalt, etc.

Iron Ore

  • Iron is the backbone of industrialization. Rich iron ores make a country industrialized. We generally find four types of iron ores namely, Hematite, Magnetite, Limonite and Siderite.

  • Quality wise Hematite remains the most important industrial iron ore but it has somewhat lower iron content than Magnetite (50-60%). In Magnetite, the iron content is around 65-70% which is highest among all the four types of ores. Limonite and Siderite are of inferior quality.

    Iron ore reserves in India are mainly Hematite and Magnetite type. India is the fourth largest producer of iron ore in the world.

  • One fourth of iron ore deposits in India are present in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. In Chhattisgarh, chief iron ore production areas are Dalli Rajhara and Bailadilla. Durg-Bastar-Chandrapur belt is in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.

    Good quality grade Hematite ore is found in the Bailadila hill ranges in Chattisgarh. Iron ore obtained from these mines is exported to South Korea and Japan through Visakhapatnam port.

  • Maharashtra-Goa iron ore belt includes the state of Goa as well as the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. Iron ore from this belt is exported through Marmagao port. In Goa, Bicholim is the main centre of iron ore production.

  • Karnataka is the largest iron ore producing state in India. In Karnataka, the centres of iron ore production are Donimalai in Bellary-Hospet iron belt, Kemmangundi and Kudremukh (stopped production due to environmental issues).

    The main steel plants in Karnataka are Jindal Vijayanagar Steel Ltd. and Bhadravati Steel Plant. Bellary-Chitradurga-Chikmagalur-Tumkur belt in Karnataka has huge distribution of iron ore in India. Kudremukh iron ore mines in India are considered to be one of the largest in the world.

  • In Jharkhand, the main iron ore centre is Noamundi which supplies iron ore to Bokaro steel plant. In Odisha, the iron ore centre, Gorumahisani supplies iron ore to Rourkela steel plant.

    In Odisha-Jharkhand belt, high grade Hematite ore is available in Badampahar mines in the Mayurbhanj and Kendujhar districts of Odisha and Gua and Noamundi mines in the Singhbhum district of Jharkhand.

Manganese Ore

  • There will be use of Manganese in iron and steel industry and it is also used in chemical industries like varnishes and colours. It wiil also be used for manufacturing of bleaching powder, paints, insecticides and for making batteries.

    Use of Manganese in steel production is in the ratio of 1:100, that is, nearly 1 kg of Manganese is required to manufacture 100 kg of steel.

  • The important Manganese ores are Pyrolusite, Psilomelane, Braunite and Hollandite. Pyrolusite and Psilomelane are superior in quality. India is the sixth largest producer of Manganese in the world. Around 15% of Manganese production in India is exported, that to mainly to Japan.

  • Odisha remains the largest Manganese producing state in India, producing around one third of total production. Sundergarh and Kendujhar districts are having rich Manganese ore. Balaghat Ranges in Madhya Pradesh to Bhandara district of Maharashtra has rich Manganese ore. In Karnataka, Bellary and Shimoga regions have rich Manganese ore.

Non-ferrous Metallic Minerals

The metals that come under non-ferrous metals category are Copper, Lead, Zinc, Tin, Aluminum, Gold, etc.


  • Bauxite, ore of Aluminum, was found in Les Baux (France) for the very first time. Bauxite deposits are being formed by the decomposition of wide variety of rocks that are rich in Aluminum silicates. 20% of Bauxite in India is exported and that too mainly to Italy.

  • Bauxite ore in India is highly concentrated in Eastern ghats region of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, which are the major Bauxite producing states in India. Odisha, the largest Bauxite producing state in India accounts for 45% of the country's total production.

    Panchpatmali deposits in the Koraput district of Odisha are the most important ones. Koraput and Dhenkanal districts are the centres of Bauxite production.

  • Bauxite deposits in India are also found in the Amarkantak Plateau, the plateau region of Bilaspur-Katni and Maikal hills. In Jharkhand, Chotanagpur Plateau region has these reserves. Lohardaga is an important mining centre in Jharkhand. Some reserves are also found in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

  • Properties of Bauxite - (i) It is very light and hence used in Aeronautical equipments, (ii) It has high electrical conductivity and (iii) It has high Malleability and hence suitable for packaging industry.

  • Processing of Bauxite in India is done in two stages. Bauxite is converted to Alumina in the first stage and then to Aluminum in the next stage. Bauxite to Alumina is done at the mining centre and to Aluminum is done near power stations. Aluminum processing units are normally located near power stations like Rihand Nagar in Uttar Pradesh, Mettur in Tamil Nadu, Aluva in Kerala, Korba in Chhattisgarh, etc.


  • Generally Copper, Lead, Zinc and Silver are found near to each other. Main sources of Copper are Cuprite and Bornite which are superior in quality and Chalcocite and Chalcopyrite which are having low Copper content. Copper ores in India are of Chalcopyrite variety. We are importing processed Copper from USA.

  • Madhya Pradesh is the largest Copper producing state in India where more than 50% Copper is produced. The important mining centre is Malaj Khand. Alwar district and Khetri mines in Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan also have Copper deposits in India. In Jharkhand, the mining centres are Rakka and Mosabani.

  • Khetri in Rajasthan, Rakka and Ghatsila in Jharkhand have Copper processing plants. Khetri also has Copper smelter plant. Copper is used in electrical systems as it is the best best conductor of electricity.


  • The main source of Lead is Galena or Lead Sulphide. Lead is mainly used for solder material, sheaths and also used in storage batteries.

  • Rajasthan is the largest Lead producing state in india contributing around 80% of total production in India. Zawar is the important mining centre in Rajasthan. Even Mochia-Mogra region has Lead reserves. Other Lead producing states in india are Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.


  • The important ore of Zinc is Sphalerite i.e, Zinc blende. Rajasthan is the largest Zinc producing state in india contributing 99% of Zinc that is produced in the country. Zinc is found along with Lead in Mochia Mogra region. Zinc smelters in India are located in Dariba (Rajasthan), Aluva (Kerala), Vizag (Andhra Pradesh).

  • Zinc is used for galvanization to avoid rust formation. India is importing Lead and Zinc mainly from Australia and Peru.


  • Gold is found in the forms of Veins / Lodes in the quartzite bearing rocks. Sometimes, it is available in Alluvial soils, for example, Subarnarekha river region in Jharkhand and Punnapuzha coastal region of Kerala. Gold production in India is very low and hence it imports gold. Rand region in South Africa is very famous for gold mining.

  • Gold is used as a currency metal / exchange metal. Chemically, Gold does not react with any other metal except Mercury. Gold dissolves in Aqua regia forming Chloroauric acid. Aqua regia is a mixture of Hydrochloric acid and Nitric acid. Gold is widely used in ornament making because of its ductility property.

  • Gold ores in India are found in (i) Kolar in Karnataka, commercial exploration is stopped here, (ii) Hutti in the Raichur district of Karnataka and (iii) Ramgiri gold field in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.