Day 65 – Q 5.What are non-ferrous minerals? How are they distributed in India? Discuss their significance for an economy like India.
5. What are non-ferrous minerals? How are they distributed in India? Discuss their significance for an economy like India.
अलौह खनिज क्या हैं? उन्हें भारत में वितरण क्या है? भारत जैसी अर्थव्यवस्था के लिए उनके महत्व पर चर्चा करें।
A non-ferrous mineral is a mineral that does not contain iron in appreciable amounts. Important non-ferrous metals include aluminium, copper, lead, nickel, tin, titanium and zinc, and alloys such as brass. Precious metals such as gold, silver and are also non-ferrous. They are usually obtained through minerals such as sulfides, carbonates, and silicates.
Distribution of non-ferrous minerals in India
India’s reserves and production of non- ferrous minerals is not very satisfactory –
- Copper – India is critically deficient in the reserve and production of copper. However the Balaghat mines in Madhya Pradesh, Khetri mines in Rajasthan and Singhbhum district of Jharkhand are leading producers of copper.
- Bauxite – Though, several ores contain aluminium, it is from bauxite, a clay-like substance that alumina and later aluminium is obtained. India’s bauxite deposits are mainly found in the Amarkantak plateau, Maikal hills and the plateau region of Bilaspur-Katni.
- 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).
- Lead-Zinc – Lead-Zinc resources are located in Rajasthan, Bihar, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu and Meghalaya
Significance of non-ferrous minerals for an economy like India
Non-ferrous metals, due to their inherent characteristics like excellent thermal and electrical conductivity, high recyclability, high strength-to-weight ratios, form the backbone of a growing economy like that of India.
- Metals like aluminium, copper, zinc and lead are key inputs to a wide range of critical industries, including infrastructure, power, automobile, defence, transport, telecom and manufacturing in general.
- 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.
- 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.
- Key Government reforms like Make in India, focus on urbanization, including initiatives like Smart Cities, place strong emphasis on expansion of our manufacturing sector. Growth of the manufacturing sector will be directly proportional to the growth of the non-ferrous metals industry.
- Aided by strong demand in sectors like automobile, construction, electrical and consumer durables, the non-ferrous metals industry in India has historically witnessed good progress.
- The NFM industry generates large-scale employment both directly and indirectly. For example, aluminium industry alone accounts for employment generation of about 800,000 people.
However, there are many critical challenges which are affecting robust growth of the sector in India, especially the China factor, the underdeveloped scrap recycling sector and the problem of inverted duty structure. Addressing each of these challenges is imperative for India to realize the true potential of its vast natural reserves and for boosting sustainable economic development.