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| Last Updated:: 24/01/2017

Mineral Distribution in India



Conventional wisdom and geological evidence suggest that India is richly endowed with mineral resources. Explorations have found over 20,000 known mineral deposits and recoverable reserves of more than 60 minerals.


11 states account for 90 % of the total number of operational mines (Andhra Pradesh, Orrisa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Karnataka).


If India’s forests, mineral-bearing areas, regions of tribal habitation and watersheds are all mapped together, a startling fact emerges – the country’s major mineral reserves lie under its richest forests and in the watersheds of its key rivers. These lands are also the homes of India’s poorest people, its tribals.


Globally, the mining industry is in boom time. World prices of minerals, ores and metals have soared to record levels, a trend that began in 2002 with unprecedented demand from China. In 2006 alone, global prices of all minerals skyrocketed up 48%.


2002-2005: Index of world prices of minerals, ores and metals doubles (price of iron ore increased by 118%; copper up by 136%; lead 116%; and aluminum by 41%).


Indian mining is characterised by a large number of small mines, dominated by the public sector, which accounts for 75% of the total value of mineral production. Mining policy is pushing the industry to move toward privately owned, large-scale, mechanised mines. Foreign direct investors and multinational mining companies are being welcomed.


After services and manufacturing, the mineral sector in India is fast emerging as the next boom sector, with the burgeoning Chinese demand driving up prices. In India, the value of mineral production has more than tripled since the sector was ‘liberalised’, from about Rs 25,000 crore in 1993-94 to more than Rs 84,000 crore in 2005-06, an astounding growth rate of 10.7%. Production of coal, lignite, natural gas, bauxite, chromite, iron ore and limestone has been ramped up.


In 2003-04, India exported minerals worth Rs 49,911 crore (17% of the total value merchandised out of India). India’s exports of ores and minerals went up by 42% between 2001-02 and 2003-04; an increase mainly due to the rise in exports of cut diamonds and (76% of value of total minerals exported) and iron ore (10.5% of the value), the key minerals exported from India.


However, mining’s contribution to the nation’s GDP is stagnating at a mere 2.2-2.5% for more than a decade now. The sector contributes very little to the exchequer through royalties and taxes -- minerals are cheap, and royalties low. Also, royalties are rarely used for the benefit of the mined regions.


India produced 90 minerals in 2005-06, valued at an estimated Rs 84,211 crore. Fuel minerals – coal, lignite, crude petroleum & natural gas – constitute about 73% of the total value of minerals produced in the country. However, the contribution of fuel minerals is steadily dipping over the years.


Metallic minerals are the next biggest contributors to the total value of minerals, and are the fastest growing segment of the mineral industry in India, with a compounded annual growth rate of 30%, among the highest in the world. Iron ore alone contributes three-fourth of the total value.


Minor minerals, mainly sand, gravel, brick, earth and stone, are also important contributors (about 10% of the value of minerals produced in the country, although data is difficult to come by.


Non-metallic minerals are minor players in the Indian minerals sector in terms of value, though they are big both in terms of area under mining and volume of minerals produced; their contribution to the value of total minerals produced in the country has remained at about 3.3 to 3.4% in the last few years. Limestone constitutes about two-thirds of the total value.




These principal minerals found in the country along with their estimated reserves/resources are given below:


    The Total Resources of Bauxite as per United Nations Framework Classification (UNFC) in the country are placed at about 3,290 million tonnes as on 1.4.2005. These resources include 899 million tonnes of Reserves and 2,391 million tonnes of Remaining resources. Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Maharashtra are the principal states where bauxite deposits are located. Major deposits are concentrated in the East Coast Bauxite deposits of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
    The total resources of Chromite in the country as per UNFC System as on 1.4.2005 are estimated at 213 million tonnes, comprising 66 million tonnes reserves (31%) and 147 million tonnes of remaining resources (69 per cent). In India 95 per cent resources are located in Orissa, mostly in the Sukinda valley in Cuttack and Jaipur districts and the remaining 5% resources are distributed in Manipur and Karnataka and meagre quantities in the states of Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
    The total resources of copper ore as on 1.4.2005 as per UNFC system are placed at 1.39 billion tonnes with a metal content of 11,418 thousand tonnes. Of these 369.49 million tonnes with a total metal content of 4383.97 thousand tonnes fall under Reserves while balance 1.02 billion tonnes with a metal content of 7033.75 thousand tonnes are 'Remaining resources'. Rajasthan is credited with the largest resources of copper ore at 668.5 million tonnes with a metal content of 3982 thousand tonnes followed by Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand. Copper resources are also available in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.
  • GOLD
    There are three important gold fields in the country, namely, Kolar Gold Field, Kolar district and Hatti Gold Field in Raichur district (both in Karnataka) and Ramgiri Gold Field in Anantpur district (Andhra Pradesh). As per UNFC as on 1.4.2005 the total resources of gold ore (primary) in the country were estimated at 390.29 million tonnes with a metal content of 490.81 tonnes. Out of these, 19.25 million tonnes with a metal content of 85.12 tonnes were placed under reserves category and the remaining 371.03 million tonnes with a metal content of 405.69 tonnes under Resources category. The resources include placer-type gold ore in Kerala estimated at 26.12 million tonnes containing 5.86 tonnes gold metal. Largest resources of gold ore (primary) are located in Bihar followed by Karanataka, Rajasthan, West Bangal, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, etc. While in terms of metal content. Karnataka remained on the top followed by Rajasthan, West Bengal, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh.
    Iron & Steel is the crux for industrial development in a country. The vitality of the iron & steel industry largely influences the economic status of a country Iron ore being the essential raw-material for Iron & Steel Industry, its mining arguably is the cynosure of all mining activities undertaken by any country. With the total resources of over 28.5 billion tonnes of hematite (Fe203) and magnetite (Fe304), India is one of the leading producers as well as exporters of iron ore in the world.
    As per UNFC system, the total provisional resources of hematite as on 1.4.2010 are estimated at 17,882 million tonnes of which 8,093 million tonnes (45%) are under reserve' category and the balance 9,789 million tones (55%) are under 'remaining resources' category. By grades, lumps constitute about 56% followed by fines (21%), lumps with fines (13%) and the remaining 10% are black iron ore, others and not known grades. Major resources of hematite are located in Odisha-5,930 million tonnes (33%), Jharkhand-4,597 million tones (26%), Chhattisgarh-3,292 million tones (18%), Karnataka-2,159 million tonnes (12%) and Goa-927 mil lion tonnes (5%). The balance resources of hematite are spread in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
    Magnetite is another principal iron ore that also occurs in the form of oxide,* either in igneous or metamorphosed banded magnetite-silica formation, possibly of sedimentary origin. As per UNFC system, the total resources of magnetite as on 1.4.2010 provisional are estimated at 10,644 million tonnes of which 'reserves' constitute a mere 22 million tonnes while 10,622 million tonnes are placed under 'remaining resources'. Classification on the basis of grades show 21% resources of metallurgical grade while 77% resources belong to unclassified, not-known and other grades. The resources of coal washery and foundry grades constitute meagre proportions. India's 97% magnetite resources are located in its four states, namely, Karnataka-7812 million tonnes (73%) followed by Andhra Pradesh-1,464 million tonnes (14%), Rajasthan-527 million tonnes and Tamil Nadu-507 million tonnes (5% each). Assam, Bihar, Goa, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, Meghalaya and Nagaland together account for the remaining 3% resources.
    Lead-Zinc resources are located in Rajasthan, Bihar, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu and Meghalaya. The total resources of lead and zinc ores as on 1.4.2005 as per UNFC are estimated at 522.58 million tonnes with a metal content of 7207 thousand tonnes of lead metal and 24260 thousand tonnes of zinc metal. Of these, 125.75 million tonnes with a metal content of 2591 thousand tonnes of lead metal and 11093 thousand tonnes of zinc metal fall under 'Reserves' while balance 396.83 million tonnes are with a metal content of 4617 thousand tonnes lead metal and 13167 thousand tonnes of zinc metal classified as 'Remaining resources'.
    The total resources of manganese ore in the country as on 01.04.2010 are placed at 430 million tonnes as per UNFC system. Out of these, 142 million tone are categorised as reserves and the balance 288 million tonnes are in the remaining resources category. Gradewise, ferro-manganese grade accounts for only 8%, medium grade 11%, BF grade 34% and the remaining 47% are of mixed, low, others, unclassified, and not-known grades including 0.35 million tonnes of battery/chemical grade. Statewise, Odisha tops the total resources with 44% share followed by Karnataka 22%, Madhya Pradesh 13%, Maharashtra 8%, Andhra Pradesh 4% and Jharkhand & Goa 3% each. Rajasthan, Gujarat and West Bengal together shared about 3% of the total resources.
    Nickel, when added in small quantity to iron, increases its properties manifold and makes the product hard and stainless. The reason behind the demand of 66% primary nickel in the entire world is for the production of stainless steel. When it is used in plating, it makes the surface tarnish-resistant and provides polished appearance.
    As per UNFC, as on 1.4.2010, the total provisional resources of nickel ore have been estimated at 189 million tonnes. About 92% resources;i.e., 175 million tonnes are in Odisha. The remaining 8% resources are distributed in Jharkhand (9 million tonnes), Nagaland (5 million tonnes) and Karnataka (0.23 million tonnes).
    The total resources of tungsten ore in the country, as per UNFC system, as on 1.4.2010 have been estimated at 87.4 million tonnes containing 142,094 tonnes W03 content. All these resources are placed under remaining resources' category. Resources are mainly distributed in Karnataka (42%), Rajasthan (27%), Andhra Pradesh (17%) and Maharashtra (9%). Remaining 5% resources are in Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and West Bengal. At Degana, Rajasthan, W03 value in vein deposits varies from 0.25 to 0.54% while in gravel deposit, it is, on an average 0.04%. In Sirohi deposit, Rajasthan, W03 content ranges from 0.02 to 2.2%. In West Bengal, Bankura deposit, Rajasthan, W03 content ranges from 0.02 to 2.2%. In West Bengal, Bankura Deposit contains, on an average, 0.1% W03. In Kuhi-Khobana-Agargaon belt, GSI has identified seven mineralised zones in Sakoli basin in Bhandara and Nagpur districts, Maharashtra. The analysis showed 0.01 to 0.19% W03 in Kuhi block, 0.13 to 0.38% W03 in Khobana block and 0.48% W03 in Pardi Dahegaon-Pipalgaon block. The deposit contains 0.17% W03 on an average. Gold area at Mysore mine of BGML in Karnataka has been reckoned as a potential source of scheelite. The tailing dumps at Kolar Gold Fields contain about 0.035 to 0.18% W03.
    The total resources of barytes in India as on 1.4.2005 as per UNFC system are placed at 74 million tonnes of which about 46% (34 million tonnes) are in 'Reserves' category and 54% (40 million tonnes) are in 'Remaining Resources' category. The Mangampet deposit in Cuddapah district (Andhra Pradesh) is the single largest barytes deposit in the world. Andhra Pradesh alone accounted for more than 94 per cent country's resources. Minor occurrences of barytes are located in Rajasthan, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Haryana.
    Diamond deposits occur in three types of geological settings such as kimberlite pipes, conglomerate beds and alluvial gravels. The main diamond bearing areas in India are Panna belt in Madhya Pradesh, Munimadugu-Banganapalie conglomerate in Kurnool district, Wajrakarur kimberlite pipe in Anantapur district, the gravels of Krishna river basin in Andhra Pradesh and damondiferous kimberlite in Raipur, Bastar and Raigarh districts in Chhattisgarh. Reserves have been estimated in Panna belt, Madhya Pradesh;Krishna Gravels in Andhra Pradesh;and in Raipur district, Chhattisgarh. As per the UNFC system as on 1.4.2005 diamonds are placed at around 4582 thousand carats, out of which about 1206 thousand carats are under Reserve category and remaining 3376 thousand carats are under remaining Resources category.
    Total resources of dolomite as per UNFC system as on 1.4.2005 are placed at 7533 million tonnes, out of which Reserves are 985 million tonnes and the balance i.e. 6548 million tonnes are in the 'Remaining Resources'. Dolomite occurrences are widespread in almost all parts of the country The major share of about 90 per cent resources is distributed in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
    Fireclay occurs as a bedded deposit, mostly associated with coal measures of Gondwana and Tertiary periods. Important deposits are associated with Jharia and Raniganj coalfields in Jharkhand and West Bengal, Korba coalfield in Chhattisgarh and Neyveli Lignite field in Tamil Nadu. Notable occurrences of fireclay not associated with coal measures are known in the state of Gujarat, Jabalpur region of Madhya Pradesh and Belpahar-Sundergarh areas of Orissa. The total resources of fireclay as per UNFC system as on 1 April 2005, are about 705 million tonnes in India out of which 59 million tonnes and under Reserve category and about 646 million tonnes are under remaining Resources category. It is necessary to assess the fireclay reserves on priority basis, especially those associated with coal measures in the leasehold areas. The reserves of fireclay are substantial but resources of high grade (non-plastic) fireclay containing more than 37 per cent alumina are limited.
    The total resources of fluorite as per UNFC system as on 1.4.2005 were estimated at 20.16 million tonnes. Out of these, 9.21 million tonnes were placed under 'Reserves' category and the remaining 10.95 million tonnes under Remaining Resources category. Major deposits of Fluorspar are located in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.
    The total resources of mineral Gypsum as per UNFC system as on 1.4.2005 were estimated at 1,237 million tonnes. Of these 69 million tonnes have been placed under Reserve and 1,168 million tonnes under 'Remaining Resources' The main occurrences of gypsum are located in Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. Rajasthan alone accounts for more than 80 per cent country resource. Minor occurrences of gypsum are in Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
    As per the UNFC the total resources of graphite in the country as on 1.4.2005 are placed at about 168.77 million tonnes comprising 10.75 million tonnes in the Reserve category and remaining 158.02 million tonnes under Resources category. Out of total resources, Arunachal Pradesh accounts 43% followed by Jammu and Kashmir (37%), Jharkhand (6%), Tamil Nadu (5%) and Odisha (3%). However, in term of reserves, Tamil Nadu has major share of about 37%.
    The resources of Ilmenite are 461.37 million tonnes as per Department of Atomic Energy. Ilmenite occurs mainly in beach sand deposits right from Ratnagiri (Maharashtra) to coast in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Orissa. The mineral is also found in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal.
    India possesses fairly large resources of china clay. The total resources as per UNFC system as on 1.4.2005 are about 2596 million tonnes out of which, 222 million tonnes are placed in Reserves category. The occurrences of china clay are distributed in Kerala, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Odisha, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Gujarat Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
    The total resources of limestone of all categories and grades as per UNFC system as on 1.4.2005 are estimated at 175345 million tonnes. Of which 12715 million tonnes are under 'Reserves' category and 162630 million tonnes are under 'Remaining Resources' category. Karnataka is the leading state followed by Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Meghalaya, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand.
  • MICA
    Important mica bearing pegmatite occurs in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Bihar and Rajasthan. The total resources of Mica in the country as per UNFC system as on 1.4.2005 are estimated at 393855 tonnes, out of which only 68570 tonnes are placed under 'Reserves' category. 'Remaining resources' are placed at 325285 tonnes. Rajasthan accounts for about 51 per cent resources, followed by Andhra Pradesh Maharashtra and Bihar.
    The total resources of magnesite as per UNFC system as on 1.4.2005 are about 338 million tonnes, of which Reserves and Remaining resources are 76 million tonnes and 262 million tonnes, respectively. Substantial quantities of resources are established in Uttarkhand (68%) followed by Rajasthan (16%) and Tamil Nadu (13%). Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka and Kerala contribute for the balance.
    The total resources of kyanite and sillimanite as per UNFC system as on 1.4.2005 are 103 million tonnes and 74 million tonnes, respectively. Out of these the Reserves categories are 1.4 million tonnes for kyanite and 11 million tonnes for sillimanite. Kyanite deposits are located in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. Sillimanite resources are located mainly in Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Assam and West Bengal with minor occurrences in Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya and Rajasthan.
    Deposits of phosphorites are located in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. Besides, apatite deposits of commercial importance are reported from Jharkhand, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan. The total resources of apatite as per UNFC system as on 1.4.2005 are placed at 26.86 million tonnes, out of which 6 million tonnes are under Reserves category and about 21 million tonnes are under Remaining resources category. Out of the total resources, the bulk 61% are located in West Bengal. The total resources of rock phosphate as per UNFC system as on 1.4.2005 are placed at 305 million tonnes, out of which 53 million tonnes are placed under reserves and 252 million tonnes under remaining resources category. Bulk of reserves are located in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.




In India coal deposits are found mainly of two geological ages –

  1. Gondwana coal deposits, which are about 200 million years old. The major coal deposits in India are Gondwana coal which are metallurgical coal and are located in Damodar Valley (West Bengal, Jharkhand). These constitute mainly Jharia, Dhanbad, Ranigunj, and Bokaro coal fields. Besides, the Godavari, Mahanadi, Son and Wardha valley also contain coal deposits.
  2. Tertiary coal deposits which are around 55 million years old. Tertiary coal deposits are found in the North-Eastern states of Meghalaya, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.


Coal plays a pivotal role in sustainable development. It is the most widely used energy source for electricity generation and an essential input for steel production. Coal is an essential resource for meeting the challenges facing the modern world. As per Integrated Energy Policy Committee of Planning Commission, coal will remain India's most important energy source till 2031-32 and possibly beyond. In India, about 76% coal output is consumed in power sector. In addition, other industries like cement, fertilizer, chemical, paper and thousands of medium and small-scale industries are dependent on coal for their process and energy requirements. The production of coal at 556.40 million tonnes in 2012-13 increased by 1.7% to 565.77 million tonnes in 2013-14. The production of lignite at 44.27 million tonnes in 2013-14 decreased by 4.7% from 46.45 million tonnes in the previous year. India ranks 3rd in world coal production.


  • COAL
    The coal deposits in India are primarily concentrated in the Gondwana sediments occurring mainly in the eastern and central parts of Peninsular India, although Gondwana coal deposits also occur in Assam and Sikkim in north eastern part of the country. The Tertiary coal-bearing sediments are found in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Meghalaya. As a result of exploration carried out by GSI, CMPDIL and other agencies, 301.56 billion tonnes (including that estimated in Sikkim) coal reserves up to 1,200 m depth have been established in the country as on 1.4.2014. Out of these reserves, 125.91 billion tonnes are proved reserves, 142.50 billion tonnes are indicated reserves and the remaining 33.15 billion tonnes are in inferred category. Of the total reserves, the share of primecoking coal is 5.31 billion tonnes, medium-coking & semi-coking is 28.76 billion tonnes and non-coking coal, including high sulphur is 267.49 billion tonnes.
    Indian lignite deposits occur in the Tertiary sediments in the southern and western parts of peninsular shield particularly in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir. The total known geological reserves of lignite as on 1.4.2014 is about 43.25 billion tonnes, of which 79% reserves are located in Tamil Nadu with about 34.35 billion tonnes. Other states where lignite deposits have been located are Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Rajasthan, West Bengal and the Union Territory of Puducherry.


For more information: Refer our Minerals, Metals & Non-Metals Page