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Indian Geography / Mineral Resources

Non-Metallic Minerals in India

Non metallic minerals are those minerals that are devoid of metallic characteristics like thermal and electrical conductivity, malleability, shininess, etc., but they are used in many industries as raw materials. The examples of non metallic minerals are Coal, Monazite, Mica, Limestone, Gypsum, etc. Generally, non-metallic minerals are found in sedimentary rocks, young fold mountains, beach sands, etc. In India, these mineral reserves are enough and self sufficient and India is neither exporting nor importing them. These minerals can be further classified into non-metallic fuel minerals and non-metallic non-fuel minerals.

Non-metallic Fuel Minerals

Non-metallic fuel minerals can further be classified as Fossil fuels and Nuclear fuels.

Fossil Fuels

  • Coal -

    • Coal is one of the principal fossil fuels. 60% of India's commercial energy is produced from coal. It is always found in sedimentary rocks. India ranks fifth in the world in coal production.

    • In Damodar Basin, Gondwana coal is available. It is the largest coal producing area. It is spread between West Bengal and Jharkhand.

      Raniganj is the single largest coal field of India and has one tenth of total reserves. In Jharkhand, the coal producing areas are Jharia, Giridih and Bokaro.

    • Mahanadi-Son Basin lies in Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. In Madhya Pradesh, the coal mining is done in Singrauli and Pench Valley.

      In Odisha, coal mining is done in Ib valley and Talcher, which the largest open cast coal mines in India. In Chhattisgarh, Korba is the main centre.

    • Godavari-Wardha Basin lies in Maharashtra and Telangana. In Maharashtra, Kamptee coalfield and in Telangana, Singareni coalfield lie in this basin.

      In North East India, Makum coalfield and Nazira valley have Tertiary coal. Coal reserves belonging to carboniferous period is called Gondwana coal.

    • Coal is available in the form of Anthracite, Bituminous, Lignite and Peat. Anthracite and Bituminous are good quality coal and are used as a feedstock in steel and cement industry. India's reserves mainly belong to Bituminous variety.

    • Lignite is being found in Neyveli, Tamil Nadu. Lignite is also found in Palana, Rajasthan. Peat reserves are found in Cochin and Alleppey. Anthracite reserves are found in Jammu and Kashmir.

    • Coal may be of Coking or Non-coking type. When Coking coal is subjected to very high temperature in the absence of air, it will form a hard cake like substance called Coke whereas Non-coking coal forms a powdered residue.

      Coking coal is important and is used in steel production. India's coal is Non-coking variety. Coking coals are very meager and are found in Raniganj and Jharia coalfields.

  • Oil and Natural Gas -

    • Oil and Natural Gas are available in both Onshore and Offshore reserves. Offshore reserves are available in continental shelf of sea floors. These are more important in term of reserves and production.

    • Most of the occurrences petroleum in India are associated with the anticlines and the fault traps in the rocks that are formed in the Tertiary age. Rich oil and Natural gases are also expected in sedimentary rocks. Gas being lighter in weight, usually occurs above the oil.

    • India's principal oil and natural gas reserves are located at,

      (i) Gulf of Khambhat, Gandhar oilfields, Lunej basin oilfields, Vapi oilfields and Mehsana oilfields

      (ii) Mumbai High, which is the single largest oil production region of India

      (iii) Bassein oilfield near Mumbai High

      (iv) In Krishna-Godavari basin of Andhra Pradesh, Ravva oilfields, Pasarlapudi gas fields, Reliance gas fields and Gadimoga near Kakinada

      (v) In Kaveri basin, Narimanam oil field

      (vi) In Arunachal Pradesh, Kharsang oilfield

      (vii) Jaisalmer Basin of Rajasthan

      (viii) In Assam, Tipam series of sandstones contain oil and natural gas reserves and other oil fields in Assam are, (a) Digboi oil fields, where first oil was discovered and produced and first oil refinery is located, (b) Naharkatiya oilfields, (c) Rudrasagar oilfields and (d) Moran Hugrijan oil fields.

Nuclear Fuels

  • Uranium - Uranium is found in Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Meghalaya. In Meghalaya, natural Uranium is available.

    India has tenth largest Uranium reserves. Only in Jharkhand, there is commercial production and the important mining centres are Jaduguda and Narwapahar.

    In Domiostat in western Khasi hills of Meghalaya, mining has been stopped. In Nalgonda district of Telangana and in Tummalapalle, Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh, rich Uranium reserves are available.

  • Monazite - Monazite contains many minerals like Uranium, Thorium, Cerium, Lanthanum, etc. but rich in Thorium. India is having largest reserves of Monazite and is number one in the world.

    Monazite is found in the beach sands of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. We have not exploited Monazite so far.

  • Ilmenite, Rutile, Zircon - These are minor nuclear minerals and are available in beach sands. Indian Rare Earths Limited mines these minerals.

    The mining centres are located at Kollam in Kerala, Manavalakurichi in Tamil Nadu, Chhatrapur in Odisha and Ratnagiri in Maharashtra.

Non-metallic Non-fuel Minerals

  • Mica - India is the world's leading producer of sheets of Mica and accounts for about 60% of global Mica trade but the demand for Mica is going down. Muscovite, Biotite and Ruby are different types of Mica that are available.

    Mica deposits are available in the northern edge of the Chota Nagpur plateau. The Koderma-Gaya-Hazaribagh belt of Jharkhand is a leading producer of Mica.

    In Rajasthan, the major mica producing areas are around Ajmer and Beawar. In Andhra Pradesh, the major mica producing area is Gudur.

  • Limestone - Limestone is generally found along with the rocks that either contain Calcium Carbonate or Calcium and Magnesium Carbonates. It is normally found in sedimentary rocks.

    In cement industry, Limestone is used as the basic raw material and it is also essential for smelting of iron ore in the blast furnace. Limestone reserves are present in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Rajasthan, etc.

  • Diamond - Diamond is the hardest mineral. Kimberley region of South Africa is very famous for diamonds, where they occur in the form of Kimberlites.

    India does not have these Kimberlites. In India, diamonds are found in Alluvial soils like Krishna basin of Andhra Pradesh and Ken basin region of Madhya Pradesh.

    Commercial production is done in Panna, Madhya Pradesh. As it is hard, mainly used in drilling engineering. They are also used in jewelry because of their total internal reflection property.

  • Fertilizer Minerals - Fertilizer Minerals like Gypsum is produced mainly in Rajasthan. Apatite is used mainly in the manufacture of phosphatic fertilizers and it is produced along with coal in West Bengal. Rock phosphates are used in phosphatic fertilizers.

  • Table Salt / Normal Salt - It is produced from 3 sources,

    • Sea Waters - 60% of Table salt is produced this way. Gujarat and Tamil Nadu are the leading salt producers. Mithapur in Gujarat has Asia's largest salt works. Similarly, Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu is the main centre of salt production.

    • Saline Lakes - These salts are also called Lake salts. They are produced mainly from Sambhar and Didwana Lakes in Rajasthan.

    • Rock Salts - These salts occur below the ground. In the Himalayan region we have rock salt. Mandi in Himachal Pradesh is the main producer of Rock Salt.