The economic development of a country depends, to a great extent. On the availability of minerals, got as ores from the earth by mining Coal and iron are the basic minerals which man needs to develop iron and steel industry. Minerals like mica, copper, lead and zinc are of vast economic importance. Thorium and uranium are atomic energy minerals.
Position of Minerals in India:
India is rich endowed with minerals like coal, bauxite, barytes, iron, one mica, gypsum, chromite, dolomite and limestone while it is deficient in minerals like asbestos, phosphates, lead, tungsten, tin platinum group of metals, gold and diamonds.
Need for an Appropriate Policy:
An appropriate policy regarding extraction of minerals is needed in view of the limited availability and nature of minerals as under:
(1) Mineral resources are finite and non-renewable.
(2) Mineral resources constitute raw materials for many basic industries.
(3) Mineral resources are major resources of nation’s development.
National Mineral Policy:
In view of the above Nations Mineral Policy has been adopted which encompasses the various Policy Guidelines, which have been issued from time to time. The policy also emphasizes certain new aspects and elements as under:
(1) Mineral Exploration in the seabed,
(2) Development of proper inventory,
(3) Proper linkage between exploitation of minerals and development of mineral industry,
(4) Preference to members of the scheduled tribes for development of small deposits in scheduled areas.
(5) Protection of forests, environment and ecology from the adverse effects of mining,
(6) Enforcement of mining plan for adoption of proper mining methods.
(7) Optimum utilizations of minerals, export of minerals in value added form and recycling of metallic scrap and mineral waste. Under the constitution, mineral rights and administration of Mining Laws are vested in State Governments. The Central Government, however, regulated development of minerals under the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957 and the rules and regulations framed under it. The statute empowers the Centre to formulate rules for the following:
(i) The grant of prospective licenses and mining leases;
(ii) The conservation and development of minerals;
(iii) The modification of old leases.
The Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957, was amended in 1972 and major amendments were made in February 1987. The Mineral Concession Rules, 1960, 1958 was replaced by more comprehensive rules in 1988.
Mineral Resources Element:
Recoverable reserves of all grades of bauxite in the country are estimated at 283.3 crore tonnes. Important deposits occur in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Gujrat, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh.
The recoverable reserves of barytes are placed at 7.1 crore tonnes. Most of the reserves are located at Mangampet Taluka in Cuddapah District, Andhra Pradesh. Other minor occurrences are reported from Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
Coal and Lignite:
Coal is India’s largest mineral resource and presently India is fifth largest of coal in the world. Vast deposits of coal of Gondwana formations occur in West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. It also occurs in tertiary formations in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Jammu and Kashmir and Nagaland. Total reserves of coal are estimated at 17,046 crore tonnes comprosing 16,499 crore tonnes of non-coking coal and 547 crore tonnes of prime cocking. As compare with India’s coal reserves lignite resources are relatively modest at 438.8 crore tonnes of which the bulk of the reserves are located in and around Neyyeli in Tamil Nadu. Significant lignite resources are in Rajasthan, Gujrat and Jammu and Kashmir.
Total recoverable reserves of Chromite, are estimated at 5.4. crore tonnes. Deposits of economic significance occur in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Maharastra, Manipur, Orissa and Tamil Nadu. However, refractory grade reserves of chromite are very meagre.