Iron-Ore in India
Iron & Steel are extracted from iron-ore. Iron-ore has many impurities when extracted from the mines so it has to be smelted. After smelting, the impurities are removed and the iron rich material is again smelt and into it is added the required amounts of manganese, nickel, chromium, etc to produce steel. Both steel and pig iron are produced from it.
Iron is very strong and tough. At present it is the most widely used metal. Steel is used to produce needles or pins, railway tracks, bridges, wagons, coaches, trucks, buses, motor vehicles, machines, furniture, utensils etc. Thus, an iron and steel forms the backbone of the modern age and it has been seen that the more a country produces the more economically developed it is.
Classification of iron-ore:
According to the content of iron in the rocks, there are mainly four types of iron-ore:
- Magnetite is best quality iron-ore with 72% iron content and black in colour.
- Hematite is reddish in colour and has 70% of iron content or less.
- Limonite is brownish yellow in colour with nearly 60% of iron.
- Siderite is grayish brown in colour with low iron content, nearly 48%.
Magnetite and Hematite are good quality iron-ore and used widely in iron and steel industries of the world. Limonite and Siderite are low grade iron-ore which are seldom used commercially in the world. In India, most iron-ore is of Hematite. Magnetite ore is mined from Kudremukh region of Karnataka and a few other areas in India.
In India most of the iron-ore is produced from the ancient rocks of peninsular India.
- Chhattisgarh – Produces 25% of the total iron-ore production in India and ranks first. Mines are located in Durg and Bastar district.
- Goa – Ranks second in production of iron-ore.
- Karnataka – It is the third largest iron-ore producing state in India. Important mines are Donai-Malai in Bellary-Hospet region, Debadri, Bababudan in Chikmagalur district, Kudremukh in Chitradurg district and Arasul in Shimoga district.
- Jharkhand – Ranks fourth in India. The Iron ore producing areas are Noamundi (some areas located in Orissa), Goa, Budaburu, Singbhum district. Recently at Chiria in this district probably the world’s largest deposit of iron-ore (nearly 200 crores tones) has been discovered.
- Orissa – Ranks fifth in India. The areas of production of iron ore are Gorumahisani, Sulaipat and Badampahar in Mayurbhanj district, Kiriburu and Bagiaburu in Keonjhar district and Bonai in Sundargarh district.
- Andhra Pradesh – Cuddapah, Kurnool, Nellore, Anantapur, Khammam, etc.
- Tamil Nadu – Salem, Tiruchchirappalli, Madurai, Tirunelveli etc.
- Maharashtra – Chanda, Ratnagiri etc.
- Rajasthan – Jaipur and Alwar.
- Haryana – Mahendragarh.
- Himachal Pradesh – Kangra Valley.
Surveys conducted by Geological Survey of India and Indian Bureau of Mines has indicated that India has a total iron-ore deposit of nearly 1346 crores tons. The reserves of Hematite is 1005 crores tones and the magnetite variety is 341 crores tones. Hematite is mainly found in Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. Deposits of magnetite occur along the west coast of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and part of Andhra Pradesh.
India ranks fifth in the world in iron-ore production after China, Brazil, Australia and Russia. The iron-ore mines in India have an annual production capacity of nearly 8 crores tones. In 1950-51, only 50 lakhs tones of iron-ore was produced. In 1999-2000 nearly 7 cores 35 lakhs tones of iron ore were produced valued at Rs. 1965 crores.
Nearly 50% of the iron ore produced in the country is exported to Japan, South Korea, Italy, Iran, Poland, Hungary etc.
By Amit Agarwal