A homogenous, naturally occurring substance with definable internal structure is called mineral.
India is rich in good quality iron ores. Magnetite is the finest iron ore with a very high content of iron upto 70%. This iron ore is valuable for the electrical industry because of its excellent magnetic properties. Hematite ore is the most important industrial iron ore; in terms of usage. The iron content of hematite is 50-60%.
Fig: Iron ore in India
Manganese is mainly used in the manufacturing of steel and ferro-manganese alloy. It is also used in making bleaching powder, insecticides and paints.
Fig: Manganese ore in India
Copper is mainly used in electrical cables, electronics and chemical industries. The Balaghat mines in Madhya Pradesh produce 52% of India’s copper. Rajasthan is the next leading producer with about 48% share. Copper is also produced in the Singhbhum district of Jharkhand.
Aluminium is lightweight yet strong and hence is used in a variety of applications. Amarkantak plateau, Maikal hills and the plateau region of Bilaspur-Katni are the main areas of bauxite deposits. Orissa is the leading producer of bauxite in India with 45% share. Panchpatmali in Koraput district is the most important centre of bauxite deposit in Orissa.
Mica is a mineral which is made up of a series of plates or leaves. The mica sheets can be so thin that a thousand of them can be layered into a few centimetre thick mica sheet. Mica has excellent di-electric strength, low power loss factor, insulating properties and resistance to high voltage. Mica is widely used in electric and electronic industries.
Mica deposits are found in the northern edge of the Chota Nagpur plateau. Koderma-Gaya-Hazaribagh belt of Jharkhand is the leading producer of mica. Ajmer in Rajasthan and Nellore in Andhra Pradesh are the other important producers of mica.
Mining is a hazardous industry; both for the workers and for the residents. The Miners have to work under tough conditions where no natural light is available. There is always a risk of collapse of mine roof, inundation with water and fire. The areas around mines face the problem of too much dust from the mines. Slurry from mines damages the roads and the farmland. Houses and clothes become dirty more often than in other areas. Miners are at great risk of getting afflicted with pulmonary disorders. Cases of respiratory tract diseases are very high in mining areas.
It takes millions of years for the formation of minerals. Compared to the present rate of consumption, the replenishment rate of minerals is very slow. Hence, mineral resources are finite and non-renewable. Due to this, it is important that we conserve the mineral resources.
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