Minerals and Energy Resources

Minerals are usually found in “ores”. The term ore is used to describe an accumulation of any mineral mixed with other elements. India is fortunate to have fairly rich and varied mineral resources. However, these are unevenly distributed.

Types of Mineral Resources

On the basis of chemical and physical properties, minerals are grouped under two main categories of metallic and non-metallic.

Ferrous Minerals

Ferrous minerals account for about three-fourths of the total value of the production of metallic minerals. They provide a strong base for the development of metallurgical industries. India exports substantial quantities of ferrous minerals after meeting internal demands.

Iron Ore 

Iron ore is the basic mineral and the backbone of industrial development. India is endowed with fairly abundant resources of iron ore. India is rich in good quality iron ores. Magnetite is the finest iron ore with a very high content of iron up to 70 percent. It has excellent magnetic qualities, especially valuable in the electrical industry. Hematite ore is the most important industrial iron ore in terms of the quantity used, but has a slightly lower iron content than magnetite. (50-60 percent). 


Manganese is mainly used in the manufacturing of steel and ferro-manganese alloy. It is also used in manufacturing bleaching powder, insecticides and paints. Odisha is the largest producer of manganese ores in India.

Non-Ferrous Minerals

India’s reserves and production of non-ferrous minerals is not very satisfactory. However, these minerals, which include copper, bauxite, lead, zinc and gold play a vital role in a number of metallurgical, engineering and electrical industries.


India is critically deficient in the reserve and production of copper. Being malleable, ductile and a good conductor, copper is mainly used in electrical cables, electronics and chemical industries. The Balaghat mines in Madhya Pradesh, Khetri mines in Rajasthan and Singhbhum district of Jharkhand are leading producers of copper.


Though, several ores contain aluminium, it is from bauxite, a clay-like substance that alumina and later aluminium is obtained. Bauxite deposits are formed by the decomposition of a wide variety of rocks rich in aluminium silicates.

Aluminium is an important metal because it combines the strength of metals such as iron, with extreme lightness and also with good conductivity and great malleability. India’s bauxite deposits are mainly found in the Amarkantak plateau, Maikal hills and the plateau region of Bilaspur-Katni.

Non-metallic Minerals

Among the non-metallic minerals produced in India, mica is the important one. The other minerals extracted for local consumption are limestone, dolomite and phosphate.


Mica is mainly used in the electrical and electronic industries. It can be split into very thin sheets which are tough and flexible.

Mica in India is produced in Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan followed by Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh. Mica deposits also occur in Mysore and Hasan districts of Karanataka, Coimbatore, Tiruchirapalli, Madurai and Kanniyakumari in Tamil Nadu, Alleppey in Kerala, Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, Purulia and Bankura in West Bengal.

Energy Resources

Mineral fuels are essential for generation of power, required by agriculture, industry, transport and other sectors of the economy. Mineral fuels like coal, petroleum and natural gas (known as fossil fuels), nuclear energy minerals, are the conventional sources of energy. These conventional sources are exhaustible resources.


Coal is a one of the important minerals which is mainly used in the generation of thermal power and smelting of iron ore. Coal occurs in rock sequences mainly of two geological ages, namely Gondwana and tertiary deposits. About 80 percent of the coal deposits in India is of bituminous type and is of non-coking grade.

Jharia is the largest coal field followed by Raniganj. The other river valleys associated with coal are Godavari, Mahanadi and Sone. The most important coal mining centres are Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh, Korba in Chhattisgarh, Talcher and Rampur in Orissa, Chanda–Wardha, Kamptee and Bander in Maharashtra and Singareni and Pandur in Andhra Pradesh.

Tertiary coals occur in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Nagaland. It is extracted from Darangiri, Cherrapunji, Mewlong and Langrin (Meghalaya); Makum, Jaipur and Nazira in upper Assam, Namchik - Namphuk (Arunachal Pradesh) and Kalakot (Jammu and Kashmir).

The brown coal or lignite occur in the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir.


Crude petroleum consists of hydrocarbons of liquid and gaseous states varying in chemical composition, colour and specific gravity. Crude petroleum occurs in sedimentary rocks of the tertiary period.

Oil exploration and production was systematically taken up after the Oil and Natural Gas Commission was set up in 1956. Till then, the Digboi in Assam was the only oil producing region but the scenario has changed after 1956.

Oil extracted from the wells is crude oil and contains many impurities. It cannot be used directly. It needs to be refined. There are two types of refineries in India: (a) field based and (b) market based. Digboi is an example of field based and Barauni is an example of market based refinery.

Natural Gas

The Gas Authority of India Limited was set up in 1984 as a public sector undertaking to transport and market natural gas. It is obtained along with oil in all the oil fields but exclusive reserves have been located along the eastern coast as well as (Tamil Nadu, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh), Tripura, Rajasthan and off-shore wells in Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Non-Conventional Energy Sources

Sustainable energy resources are only the renewable energy sources like solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and biomass. These energy sources are more equitably distributed and environmental friendly.

Nuclear Energy Resources

Important minerals used for the generation of nuclear energy are uranium and thorium. Uranium deposits occur in the Dharwar rocks. Geographically, uranium ores are known to occur in several locations along the Singbhum Copper belt. It is also found in Udaipur, Alwar and Jhunjhunu districts of Rajasthan, Durg district of Chhattisgarh, Bhandara district of Maharashtra and Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh.

Thorium is mainly obtained from monazite and ilmenite in the beach sands along the coast of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. World’s richest monazite deposits occur in Palakkad and Kollam districts of Kerala, near Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Mahanadi river delta in Orissa.

The important nuclear power projects are Tarapur (Maharashtra), Rawatbhata near Kota (Rajasthan), Kalpakkam (Tamil Nadu), Narora (Uttar Pradesh), Kaiga (Karnataka) and Kakarapara (Gujarat).

Solar Energy

Sun rays tapped in photovoltaic cells can be converted into energy, known as solar energy. The two effective processes considered to be very effective to tap solar energy are photovoltaics and solar thermal technology.

Solar thermal technology has some relative advantages over all other non-renewable energy sources. It is cost competitive, environment friendly and easy to construct. The western part of India has greater potential for the development of solar energy in Gujarat and Rajasthan.

Wind Energy

Wind energy is absolutely pollution free, inexhaustible source of energy. The kinetic energy of wind, through turbines is converted into electrical energy. The permanent wind systems such the trade winds, westerlies and seasonal wind like monsoon have been used as source of energy. Besides these, local winds, land and sea breezes can also be used to produce electricity.

Tidal and Wave Energy

Ocean currents are the store-house of infinite energy. Large tidal waves are known to occur along the west coast of India. Hence, India has great potential for the development of tidal energy along the coasts but so far these have not yet been utilized.

Geothermal Energy

When the magma from the interior of earth, comes out on the surface, tremendous heat is released. This heat energy can successfully be tapped and converted to electrical energy. Apart from this, the hot water that gushes out through the gyser wells is also used in the generation of thermal energy. It is known as Geothermal energy.

The hot springs and geysers are being used since medieval period. In India, a geothermal energy plant has been commissioned at Manikaran in Himachal Pradesh.


Bio-energy refers to energy derived from biological products which includes agricultural residues, municipal, industrial and other wastes. Bioenergy can be converted into electrical energy, heat energy or gas for cooking. It will also process the waste and garbage and produce energy.