A country’s economy largely depends on the amount and preciousness of the natural resources it possesses. Yes, industries and agricultural factors do contribute the economy, but these are all secondary factors. If we concentrate on India particularly, we will see that the main economy of India heavily depends on these natural resources. The cultivable land in India almost comprises 57 percent of the whole land area. The water resources are plenty, having several major rivers crisscrossing across the country. However though these are important natural resources for any country, let us concentrate on the mineral resources which are abundantly found in India.
Here’s a list of some of the mineral resources that are abundantly found in India and their use :
• Coal (India is the fourth largest producer of industrial and domestic coal) – Mainly used in the power generation sector.
• Bauxite – Aluminium, whose usage ranges from making planes to utensils, is extracted from this ore.
• Manganese – This is mainly used in the manufacture of ferromanganese and steel.
• Titanium ore – Used in the steel industry, among others.
• Petroleum – Mainly used as a fuel for running vehicles.
• Limestone – Used in the cement industry.
• Thorium (the Kerala beaches account for the world’s largest thorium deposits) – Used as a fuel in nuclear power plants
• Iron ore – Used for manufacturing raw iron which is used for making heavy machines for industries.
• Mica – Used in condensers, transformers, electronic tubes, and radio or radar circuits.
• Chromite – Used in the manufacture of stainless steel.
• Natural gas – Used a fuel for vehicles.
• Diamonds – Their main usage is for making jewelleries and cutting glass.
India has the fourth largest coal reserves in the world. The total amount of coal reserves in India is expected to be around 267 billion tons. It is also one of the top nations in the world when it comes to the usage of energy derived from coal in heavy industries. The notable areas in India where coal is found and, as a result mined are – Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharia, Nagpur and Chandrapur, Raniganj, Jharkhand, Neyveli, Singrauli and Umaria coalfields. The coal found in India has high ash contents and low calorific coal. However these are combustion friendly and needless to say this is the reason behind the underground fires which occur in a few mining districts. Almost 94 percent of the coal produces is from the Government sector companies. In the 2011-12 period the total production has been reported to be around 680million tons, while the demand was 731million tons.
This vast use of this singular reserve has led to its depletion in recent years, and it has been predicted that India will run out of its coal reserves within 2040. This stresses the need to employ new mining technologies and the use of alternative fuels to run the heavy industries.
India ranks next to China in terms of its oil reserves in the Asia-Pacific region, china being the leading producer. Most of these reserves are located along the western coast of India, namely Mumbai High and the north-east region of the country. Though underdeveloped, some reserves have been recently found in the Bay of Bengal along the eastern coast of India and in Rajasthan. The sector is dominated by the state-owned enterprises, namely Oil and Natural Gas Corporation.
The usage is much more than the production, and this result in India having to import oil from foreign nations to meet its rising consumption levels. Statistics show that India is a net importer of oil, as 70percent of its oil needs is imported from countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran. The rest 30percent is produced within the country. This is because the demand for oil is somewhere around 3million barrels per day, whereas the production is only a meagre 500 thousand.
Natural Gas :
As of April 2010, India has an approximately 1437 cubic metres of natural gas. Of this a huge percentage comes from the Mumbai High reserves. Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat also have reserves which produce considerable amount of natural gas. In terms of production volume, ONGC is the leading producer of natural gas in India. Among the private enterprises, Reliance Industries play a big role in this sector due to the large reserve found in the Krishna Godavari basin. India has to import small amounts from Qatar and likewise nations. At this level of production and consumption, the reserves are predicted to last for around 29 years.
Iron ore :
Possessing one of the richest reserves of iron ore in the world, India holds a leading position in the world in terms of its iron ore production. The haematite deposits found in India are spread throughout the country, though the huge deposits are concentrated in a few regions like Chikkamagaluru, Singhbhum etc. Many iron and steel industries are located near these mines. The nearness of the industries not only reduces transportation costs but also reduces the times taken to produce the final products. The ores found in Goa are mainly shipped to Japan. Export of iron is mainly done from the ports of Vishakhapatnam, Marma Goa, Paradip and Kolkata. At present the deposits are quite vast, but some calculations indicate that the exponential rise in consumption in coming years may make these reserves seem finite in the near future.
India is one of the leading producers of bauxite in the world. The reserves account for 7.5 percent of the world’s total deposits; however the aluminium output is only 3 percent. This indicates the lack of infrastructure which dominates the Indian market. The state-owned NALCO is the largest company dealing with bauxite ores. The acquiring of INDAL by Hindalco Industries accounted for a steep rise in the aluminium production of the country in the last year. The extensive deposits will take a long, long time to get replenished.