Mineral Belts of India - UPSC Notes - Indian Geography

Mineral Belts of India – UPSC Notes – Indian Geography

India possesses diverse geological structure leading to a vast array of mineral resources, crucial for industrial development. Minerals are primarily concentrated within three main Mineral Belts across the country, with occasional occurrences in other regions. This article elaborates on the Major Mineral Belts of India, essential for Geography preparation for the UPSC Civil Service exam.

Mineral Distribution in India

  • India is among the world’s richest countries in terms of mineral resources.
  • The internal structure of India comprises ancient hard rocks, facilitating the presence of almost every type of mineral, particularly in Gondwana rocks.
  • Majority of metallic minerals are found in old crystalline rocks on the peninsular plateau.
  • Over 97 percent of coal reserves are concentrated in the Damodar, Sone, Mahanadi, and Godavari valleys.
  • Petroleum reserves are situated in the Assam, Gujarat, and Mumbai High sedimentary basins, offshore in the Arabian Sea.
  • New reserves have been discovered in the Krishna-Godavari and Kaveri basins.
  • The eastern region, east of a line between Mangalore and Kanpur, hosts the majority of major mineral resources.

Major Mineral Belts of India

The North Eastern Plateau Region

  • Encompassing Chhotanagpur (Jharkhand), the Odisha Plateau, West Bengal, and parts of Chhattisgarh.
  • Rich in a variety of minerals including iron ore, coal, manganese, bauxite, and mica.

The South-Western Plateau Region

  • Spanning through Karnataka, Goa, and the uplands of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
  • Abundant in bauxite and ferrous metals, along with high-grade iron ore, manganese, and limestone.
  • Except for Neyveli lignite, lacks coal deposits.
  • Mineral diversity in this belt is lower compared to the north-eastern belt.
  • Kerala boasts monazite, thorium deposits, and bauxite clay, while Goa has significant iron ore deposits.

The North-Western Region

  • Associated with the Dharwar system of rocks along the Aravali in Rajasthan and parts of Gujarat.
  • Copper and zinc are prominent minerals.
  • Rajasthan is rich in building materials like sandstone, granite, and marble, along with large deposits of gypsum and Fuller’s earth.
  • Dolomite and limestone serve as crucial raw materials for the cement industry.
  • Gujarat is renowned for its oil and gas reserves, while both Gujarat and Rajasthan boast abundant salt reserves.
Mineral Belts of India

Other Belts

The Himalayan Belt

  • Generally lacks metallic minerals.
  • However, pockets of valuable minerals such as copper, lead, zinc, bismuth, bauxite, antimony, nickel-cobalt, tungsten, and precious stones exist in the Himalayas.
  • Also includes gold, silver, gypsum, limestone, and dolomite.

The Central Belt

  • Encompasses Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Maharashtra.
  • Rich in bauxite, manganese, limestone, marble, uranium, coal, gems, and mica.
  • Second-largest mineral belt in the country.

Indian Ocean Belt

  • Abundance of mineral oil and natural gas on the Arabian Sea’s continental shelf and in the Bay of Bengal.
  • High-grade nodules on the seabed include manganese, phosphate, barium, aluminum, silicon, iron, titanium, sodium, potassium, chromium, monazite, ilmenite, magnetite, and garnet.

Conclusion

Minerals are invaluable natural resources due to their limited and non-renewable nature. They serve as vital raw materials for numerous basic industries and are crucial for development. Mineral extraction in India has a long history, dating back to the Harappan civilization. The abundance of rich reserves has rendered India’s mining sector highly conducive to growth and development.

FAQs

Question: What are mineral belts?

Answer: Mineral belts refer to geographical regions or areas with a concentration of various mineral deposits. These belts are characterized by the presence of specific types of minerals, such as metallic ores or industrial minerals, due to geological factors like rock formations and tectonic processes.

Question: Which is the largest mineral belt in India?

Answer: The largest mineral belt in India is the Central Belt, which comprises states like Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Maharashtra. This belt is known for its rich deposits of minerals such as bauxite, manganese, limestone, marble, uranium, coal, gems, and mica.

Question: Which state is known as the mineral state of India?

Answer: Jharkhand is often referred to as the mineral state of India due to its abundant mineral resources. It is particularly rich in coal, iron ore, mica, bauxite, copper, limestone, and other minerals. Jharkhand’s mineral wealth plays a significant role in the state’s economy and industrial development.

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