The index of mineral production (base 2004-05) for the year 2011-12 is estimated to be 130.38 for 2011-12. The total value of mineral production (excluding atomic minerals) during 2011-12 has been estimated at Rs. 210334.55 crore. India is fairly rich in minerals and has sufficiently large reserves of ferrous metals, coal and mica, manganese ore, magnesite, bauxite and thorium. However the deposits of non-ferrous metals like mercury, tungsten, molybdnum, silver, cobalt, nickel, tin, zinc are rather limited.
The country is endowed with huge resource of many metallic and non- metallic minerals. Mining sector is an important segment of the Indian Economy. Since Independence, there has been a pronounced growth in the mineral production both interms of quantity and Value India Produces as many 87 minerals which includes 4 fuel, 10 metallic, 47 non-metallic, 3 atomic and 23 minor minerals.
Reserves of coal, limestone, dolomite, uranium, copper ore and gypsum are adequate for the needs of the country. Production of petroleum, phosphate and sulphur also falls considerably short of the requirements of the country. India therefore depends on other countries for the supply of these minerals. The minerals wealth of the country is unevenly distributed and are localised in a few areas.
More than 90 percent of the mineral deposits of the country are concentrated in the Chhottanagpur plateau region. The valley of Damodar in Jharkhand and West Bengal, the Mahanadi in Orissa and the Madhya Pradesh, Godavari in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh are the most important mineral bearing areas in the country.
The petroleum deposits in Assam and Maharashtra-Gujarat region, the copper deposits of Rajasthan and the gold deposits of Karnataka are the only areas outside the main minerals regions. Large size and diverse geological formations have favoured India in providing wider variety of minerals.
Out of 2076 reporting mines, 354 were located in Andhra Pradesh followed by Gujarat (308), Rajasthan (241), Madhya Pradesh (225), Karnataka (180), Tamil Nadu (156), Odisha (119), Jharkhand (106), Chhattisgarh (99), Maharashtra (86) and Goa (70). These 11 States together accounted for 93.64% of total number of mines in 2011-12.
i. The Great plains of Northern India are almost entirely devoid of any known deposits of economic minerals.
ii. Jharkhand and Odisha areas on the north-eastern parts of peninsular India possess large concentration of mineral deposits, accounting for nearly 3/4th of the country’s coal deposits and containing higher rich bauxite and radio-active minerals.
iii. Mineral deposits are scattered over the rest of the peninsular India and in parts of Assam and Rajasthan.
iv. With the implementation of the New UN Laws on the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), new areas in deep sees, hitherto unexplored would become available to us. These areas are believed to contain rich deposits of oil gas, manganese and modules of nickel, cobalt, and copper.
India is richly endowed with minerals. Under the Constitution, mineral rights the administration of mining laws are vested in the respective State governments. The Centre, however, regulates the development of minerals under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and the rules and regulations framed thereunder.
This statute empowers the Central government to formulate rules for: (i) The grant, renewal, etc., reconnaisance permits, prospecting licences and mining leases for major minerals (viz., Mineral Concession Rules, 1960), (ii) the conservation and development of minerals (viz., Mineral Conservation and Development 1988 for major minerals (except atomic, fuel and minor minerals) and Granite Conservation and Development Rules, 1999 for granite; (iii) the modification of old leases. The Act came into force on 1 June 1958. Amendments to this Act were made in 1972, 1986, 1994 and 1999.
The Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act, 2002 providing for development and regulation of mineral resources in the territorial waters, continental shelf, and the exclusive economic zone was notified on 31 January 2003. The legislation would enable streamlining of mineral exploration and development in the offshore areas and ensure systematic and scientific exploitation of mineral reserves (except petroleum, natural gas and hydrocarbon resources) for attracting private investment in the mineral sector.
The country possesses more than 100 minerals, out of which reserves of 30 minerals are economically significant. Coal, iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, etc. are some of them. The resources of certain industrially important minerals are, however, small in comparison to the needs of the country. A number of organisations are engaged in exploration and development of mineral resources in the country. These include Geological Survey of India (GSI), Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited, and Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM).