Mineral Resources of India

Mineral Resources of India
Posted on 22-08-2023

Diverse Mineral Resources of India: A Comprehensive Overview

India possesses a rich and diverse array of mineral resources due to its varied geological composition. The nation ranks as the world's second-largest steel producer, third-largest coal producer, fourth-largest iron producer, and is home to the fifth-largest bauxite reserves. With more than 90 different mineral types, India's mineral wealth is significant and crucial for its development. This article aims to provide insights into India's mineral resources, offering valuable content for those preparing for the Govt Exams.

Coal, a vital fossil fuel, holds paramount importance in India. It contributes to 55 percent of the country's energy needs and underpins its industrial history. Over the past forty years, India has witnessed a staggering 700 percent surge in commercial primary energy consumption. Despite this growth, the current per capita commercial primary energy consumption of around 350 kg/year remains notably lower than that of developed nations. Anticipated factors such as population growth, economic expansion, and the pursuit of improved living standards are expected to drive India's energy consumption higher. Given limited reserves of petroleum and natural gas, environmental restrictions on hydropower ventures, and geopolitical concerns surrounding nuclear power, coal will continue to hold a pivotal role in India's energy landscape.

Moving on to petroleum and natural gas, these non-renewable energy sources also play a vital role in India's energy makeup. As of March 31, 2018, India's estimated natural gas reserves stood at 1339.57 billion cubic meters. The country produced 35.2 million tonnes of petroleum products from domestic crude oil while consuming 204.9 million tonnes. In terms of natural gas, India produced 31.7 billion cubic meters against a demand of 58.1 billion cubic meters. Notably, India ranked as the fifth-largest importer of LNG in 2019.

India's oil reserves, primarily offshore in the Arabian Sea and onshore in Assam and Rajasthan, were approximately 620 million tonnes in 2019. However, around 75 percent of India's total oil consumption relies on imports. Remarkable oil refineries, such as the one in Jamnagar, Gujarat, stand as major players globally. The oil refinery in Jamnagar holds the distinction of being the world's fifth-largest, while another in Jamnagar, owned by RPL, holds the sixth spot and was commissioned in 2008. Indian Oil, the country's second-largest oil refinery, ranks 19th globally. In the fiscal year 2018-19, India produced 34.2 million tonnes of crude oil.

Shifting the focus to iron ore, these minerals are economically viable sources of metallic iron. They showcase a range of colors from dark grey to rusty red. India boasts substantial iron ore reserves, with approximately 9,602 million tonnes of hematite and 3,408 million tonnes of magnetite. States such as Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Odisha, Goa, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu serve as the nation's main iron ore producers.

Manganese, another crucial resource, places India as the world's second-largest holder of manganese reserves after Zimbabwe. The country ranks as the fifth-largest manganese producer globally, following China, Gabon, South Africa, and Australia. Notable manganese ore-producing states include Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka. Over half of India's manganese output originates from Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh combined.

Bauxite, an ore integral to aluminum production, is primarily found in tertiary deposits associated with laterite rocks on peninsular India's plateaus, hills, and coastlines. India's bauxite production exceeds 20 million metric tonnes, with reserves of 660 million metric tonnes as of 2020.

Limestone, often coupled with calcium carbonate or calcium and magnesium carbonate rocks, is widespread in sedimentary formations. Ample limestone deposits can be found throughout India, with estimated total reserves/resources of 203,224 million tonnes. Karnataka leads in limestone reserves at 28 percent, trailed by Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan at approximately 11 percent each. Gujarat, Meghalaya, and Telangana contribute 10 percent, 9 percent, and 8 percent, respectively.

In conclusion, the sustainable use of natural resources has regained prominence on the global development agenda, demanding India's strategic preparation. Over the last three decades, India's raw material productivity has soared. Yet, on a global scale, there's room for enhanced resource efficiency in manufacturing sub-sectors like coke, refined petroleum products, and chemicals. Implementing resource-efficient strategies will promptly cut costs and enhance the competitiveness of Indian industries.

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