Minerals in India - Types of Mineral Resources in India, Major and Minor Moneral Resources

By K Balaji|Updated : November 3rd, 2022

The growth and management of minerals in India play a primary role in developing industries and individuals. Minerals in India can be seen in igneous and metamorphic rocks' crevices, fissures, faults, and joints. Veins are referred to as lower occurrences, whereas lodes are the larger ones. Based on physical and chemical properties, minerals are grouped under two main classifications: metallic and nonmetallic.

The earth's crust comprises different minerals in India entrenched in rocks, and metals get extracted from diverse minerals after a satisfactory refining process. Minerals are homogeneous elements, while rocks generally contain innumerable minerals in different ratios. Only a few rocks, such as limestone, are produced entirely from only one mineral. In this article, learn about major minerals in India, important mineral resources in India, and a detailed list of minerals found in India and their uses.

Table of Content

Major and Minor Minerals in India

Several metallic minerals are discovered in old crystalline stones in the peninsular grassland. Mahanadi, Damodar, Godavari, and Sone basins contain around 97% depositions of coal. Check here the list of major and minor minerals of India.

  • Gujarat, Assam, and Mumbai sedimentary gulfs (seen in the Arabian Sea offshore) possess petroleum deposits.
  • Kaveri and Krishna-Godavari bays constitute some fresh deposits.
  • Major minerals in India are those defined in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 1957.
  • Some important minerals in India include Coal, Gold, Tungsten, Lignite, Lead-Zinc, Iron ore, Uranium, Magnesium, Diamond, etc.
  • Central Government has declared a few minerals as minor, for example, chalcedony pebbles, fuller's earth, bentonite, limestone, lime shell, Kankar, boulder, shingle, brick-earth, slate, road metal, marble, stone utilized for creating home utensils, sandstone, quartzite, ordinary earth, and saltpeter.

List of Mineral Resources in India

Metallic and nonmetallic are the two kinds of mineral resources. Metallic resources are the ones from which any metal can be extracted, like copper, gold, iron, silver, zinc, and aluminum.

Nonmetallic resources include minerals like gypsum, sand, halite, and uranium. Below are a few prominent minerals in India that are useful for various purposes.

  • Uranium
  • Mica
  • Tungsten
  • Magnesium
  • Gold
  • Feldspar
  • Zinc
  • Lead
  • Iron ore
  • Quartz
  • Diamond
  • Coal

List of Minerals Found in India and Their Uses

India is blessed with many mineral resources due to its mixed geographical structure. There is an inverse relationship between the quality and quantity of minerals; mostly, good-quality minerals are less in quantity than low-quality minerals. Other characteristics include:

  • Minerals in India are unevenly distributed over distance.
  • They are exhaustible over time and take years to develop geologically.
  • Minerals found in India cannot be replenished instantly at a time of need. Therefore, the conservation of major minerals is important.

Ferrous Minerals in India

Ferrous minerals provide a strong base for developing metallurgical industries. India has an adequate quantity of ferrous minerals both in reserves and production. These include minerals like Manganese, iron ore, chromite, etc.

Iron Ore:

  • The largest iron ore reserve is witnessed in Asia.
  • Haematite and Magnetite are India's two main types of ore.
  • Iron ore has great demand in the international market due to its exceptional quality.
  • Its mines are close to the coal fields in the northeastern plateau area.
  • Odisha, Goa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh have nearly 95 percent of total iron ore reserves.

Manganese:

  • Manganese serves as a vital raw material for smelting iron ore and is also used for manufacturing ferroalloys.
  • Manganese deposits are located in almost all geological formations. However, it is mainly associated with the Dharwar system.
  • Odisha is the highest producer of Manganese.

Non-Ferrous Minerals in India

Non-ferrous minerals are not iron-based like their ferrous counterparts and are found in chemical combinations. India has an extremely less quantity of non-ferrous metallic minerals except Bauxite. Some examples of such minerals include aluminum, tin, copper, lead, nickel, titanium, zinc, and copper alloys like brass and bronze.

Bauxite:

  • The manufacturing of aluminum uses Bauxite ore.
  • Bauxite is seen predominantly in tertiary sediments on peninsular hill ridges or the plateau.
  • Odisha is the largest Bauxite producing state.
  • Other leading producers are Kalahandi and Sambalpur.

Copper:

  • Copper is an integral metal required in the electrical industry for assembling electric engines, wires, generators, and transformers.
  • It can be made into an alloy, drawn into a thin wire, malleable (capable of being shaped or extended), and integrated with gold to offer stability to jewelry.
  • Singhbhum district in Balaghat district in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Alwar, and Jhunjhunu districts in Rajasthan are the major copper deposits.

Nonmetallic Minerals in India

Nonmetallic minerals contain zero metallic substances found in young folded mountains and sedimentary rocks. Mica is the most critical nonmetallic mineral produced in India. The other minerals taken out for local consumption are limestone, dolomite, and phosphate.

Mica:

  • Mica is specifically utilized in the electronic and electrical industries.
  • It effortlessly gets split into thin, stiff, and flexible sheets.
  • Mica in India is formed in Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh, followed by West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu.

Energy Mineral Resources in India

Energy resources are conventional sources that are exhaustible. They are mineral fuels important for generating the power needed by industry, transportation, agriculture, and other economic sectors. These include

  • Petroleum
  • Coal
  • Natural gas,
  • Nuclear energy minerals.

Coal:

  • Coal is one of the essential minerals used to generate thermal power and smelting iron ore.
  • It is found in rock series mainly of two geological eras, Gondwana and tertiary deposits.
  • Jharia is the biggest coal area, followed by Raniganj.
  • The Sone, Godavari, and Mahanadi are additional river valleys associated with coal.

Petroleum:

  • Crude petroleum comprises hydrocarbons of liquid and gaseous forms differing in chemical composition, color, and specific gravity.
  • Petroleum is an essential energy source for all inner combustion motors in railways, automobiles, and aircraft.
  • Its numerous by-products, including synthetic rubber, fertilizer, vaseline, lubricants, synthetic fiber, medicines, wax, soap, and cosmetics, are processed in petrochemical industries.
  • Crude petroleum occurs in sedimentary rocks of the tertiary period.

Natural Gas:

  • Natural Gas is located with petroleum deposits and is discharged when crude oil is brought to the surface.
  • It can be utilized as a household and industrial fuel.
  • Natural gas is a valuable fuel that generates electricity in the power sector for heating purposes in enterprises.
  • It is a raw material for various industries like fertilizer, petrochemical, and chemical.
  • Natural Gas is also emerging as the home's desired transport fuel (CNG) and cooking fuel (PNG).
  • The primary gas reserves are discovered in the Mumbai High and allied fields along the west coast of India.

Distribution of Minerals in India - According to Mineral Belts

In India, minerals are concentrated below three considerable zones, and there may be a few isolated occasional deposits here and there.

Area

Types of Minerals in India found

The Himalayan belt

  • Copper, lead, zinc, cobalt, tungsten
  • Mineral oil resources located in Assam valley
  • Oil resources discovered in offshore areas along the Mumbai shore.

The North-Western Region

  • Copper and zinc.
  • Gypsum and fuller earth reserves.
  • The raw materials used in the cement industry, like dolomite and limestone, are found here.
  • Dharwar system of rocks is seen around the Aravali peaks.
  • Oil and gas reserves discovered in Gujarat.
  • Salt reserves are found in Rajasthan and Gujarat.
  • Construction materials like marble, sandstone, and granite are found in Rajasthan.

The South-Western Plateau

  • The belt passes along Goa, Karnataka, and the highlands of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
  • Rich in ferrous and Bauxite metals.
  • Manganese, limestone, and high-level iron ore are also observed.
  • The zone is tightly packed with coal resources except for Neyveli lignite.
  • Monazite, thorium resources, and bauxite clay are discovered in Kerala.
  • Iron ore reserves are seen in Goa.

Plateau Region, North-Eastern India

  • The region includes Chhotanagpur (Jharkhand), the Odisha Plateau, West Bengal, and sections of Chhattisgarh.
  • It is rich in minerals like iron ore, coal, manganese, bauxite, and mica.

Minerals in India for UPSC Exam

Minerals in India is an essential topic that comes under the Geography section of the UPSC exam. Aspirants should be well-versed in the Minerals in India topic as it is an integral part of the UPSC Syllabus.

Minerals In India UPSC PDF

Candidates should go through the topic of Minerals in India for UPSC exam conceptually, as it can be asked in both Prelims and Mains IAS exam. Candidates must comprehensively understand and grasp all the factual information linked to the Minerals in India to score better marks in the particular section.

Minerals in India UPSC Questions

UPSC candidates must comprehend the critical questions about minerals in India. They can refer to the Geography Notes for UPSC to cover the whole Geography syllabus, including important topics of Indian, World, and Physical Geography from where questions are asked in the Prelims and Mains Exams. To be familiar with minerals in India UPSC questions, one must first refer to Geography NCERT textbooks and then practice from the books highly recommended by experts and toppers.

Question: Consider the following statements on the Mineral Resources of India.

  • Bauxite is found primarily in the hilly ranges of peninsular India.
  • Bauxite is an ore that is used in the production of aluminum.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer - (C) Bauxite is an ore that is used in the production of aluminum. Bauxite is located in tertiary depositions and is associated with laterite rocks found on the grasslands and hill ranges of peninsular India and along the country's beaches.

Question: Which of the following geological formations does limestone exist in?

(a) Sedimentary Rocks

(b) Metamorphic Rocks

(c) Igneous Rocks

(d) None of the above

Answer - (A) Limestone is found in combination with calcium carbonate or calcium and magnesium carbonate rocks. It can be found in most geological formations' sedimentary rocks.

Important Notes for UPSC
Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ]Difference Between Early Vedic Period and Later Vedic Period
Governor of IndiaWestern Ghats and Eastern Ghats
Fascism Vs NazismTypes of Funds in India
Seals of Harappan CivilizationBhakti Movement
Environment Protection ActFood Safety and Standards Authority of India

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FAQs on Minerals in India

  • Major and minor minerals in India have been illustrated in the Mines and Minerals Act 1957. The minerals in India are exhaustible and unevenly distributed. The principal minerals of India include the following:

    • Limestone
    • Chromite
    • Iron ore
    • Coal (4th world's largest reserve)
    • Diamonds
    • Thorium
    • Manganese ore (7th world's largest reserve in 2013)
    • Mica
    • Bauxite (5th world's largest reserve in 2013)
    • Natural gas.
  • Jharkhand is the Indian state having the largest and most abundant mineral deposits. The state produces sixty million tons of minerals, including iron ore, bauxite, coal, Uranium, limestone, dolomite, and quartz.

  • India produces 87 minerals, including 23 minor minerals (including building and other materials), 22 non-metallic minerals, 11 metallic minerals, 4 fuel minerals, and 3 atomic minerals. The major and minor minerals have been listed in the Mines and Minerals Act 1957.

  • Polluted air with increased particulate matter is a severe issue in mineral-rich areas. Mining procedures have caused the reduction of biodiversity and artistic heritage. 

    • Water from rivers and streams turns acidic, making it not safe for drinking. 
    • There are severe disorders, like silicosis, fibrosis, and pneumoconiosis, caused by mining specific minerals like asbestos, mica, etc.
  • There are majorly 4 types of minerals found in India, which include ferrous, non-ferrous, non-metallic, and energy resources in India. The major minerals include iron ore, manganese, bauxite, copper, mica, coal, natural gas, and petroleum.

  • The mineral resources in India can be classified into two major types, which are metallic and non-metallic. The metallic type of resources includes copper, iron, gold, silver, aluminum, and zinc. The non-metallic minerals include gypsum, sand, halite, and uranium.

  • Jaduguda in the Singhbhum Thrust Belt (in the state of Jharkhand, once part of Bihar) is the first uranium deposit discovered in the country in 1951. Additionally, the largest reserves of Uranium are discovered in Tummalapalle village of the Kadapa district (Andhra Pradesh).

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