Bauxite is a non-ferrous metallic mineral. It is the ore from which aluminium metal is produced. India’s reserves of bauxite are sufficient to keep the country self-reliant. Aluminium extracted from the ore is used in making aeroplanes, electrical appliances and goods, household fittings, utensils, etc.
Bauxite is also used for manufacturing of white colour cement and certain chemicals. India’s reserves of bauxite of all grades have been estimated at 3037 million tonnes.
Bauxite has a wide occurrence in the country. Major reserves occur in Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Uttar Pradesh.
Jharkhand accounts for 13 percent of India’s total reserves and 37 percent of the country’s total production. The important deposits are located in Palamau, Ranchi and Lohardaga districts.
Gujarat contributes 12 percent to the total production and equal percentage to the total reserves of the country. The deposits are found in the Bhavnagar, Junagadh and Amreli districts.
Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh accounts for 22 percent of the total reserves of the country and 25 percent of the total production. The three important bauxite ore regions in these states are Sarguja, Raigarh and Bilaspur districts in the Amarkantak Plateau; Maikala range in Bilaspur, Durg (both these regions are in Chhatisgarh), Mandla, Shahdole and Balaghat districts; and Katni district in Madhya Pradesh.
Maharashtra accounts for a relatively small production of the country, 18 percent of the total, but possesses the second largest bauxite reserves consisting of 22 percent of the country’s total reserves. Bauxite occurs in Kolhapur, Raigarh, Thana, Satara and Ratnagiri districts.
In Karnataka the reserves of bauxite occur in the north-western parts of Belgaum district. Huge deposits of bauxite have been discovered in the eastern ghats in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, Salem, Nilgiri and Madurai district of Tamil Nadu, and Banda district of Uttar Pradesh also have workable deposits of bauxite.
India exports bauxite to a number of countries. The leading importer of Indian bauxite is Italy, followed by the U.K., West Germany and Japan.