Metallic Minerals

Last Updated: May 2023 (Metallic Minerals)

Metallic Minerals

This article deals with  Metallic Minerals (UPSC Notes).’ This is part of our series on ‘Geography’, which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Metallic Minerals
  • Minerals containing one or more metallic elements are called metallic minerals.
  • Metallic Minerals provide a strong base for the development of the metallurgical industry & hence the process of industrialization.

1. Iron Ore

  • Iron ore is the most critical mineral on which a nation’s economy hinges.
  • In 2018, India became the 2nd largest producer of Steel in the world, following China.
  • India has the largest reserve of iron ore in Asia.
  • Haematite and Magnetite are the two primary varieties of iron ore found in our nation.
  • Due to its superior quality, Indian iron ore is in high demand in the global market.
  • In the country’s north-eastern plateau region, the iron ore mines are located adjacent to the coal fields, adding to their advantage. 

4 Main Ore Types

1. Magnetite

  • It is also known as Black Ochre.
  • It has a high iron content of up to 70%. 
  • As the name suggests, it has magnetic properties. 
  • The largest concentration of Magnetite is found in Sweden, Liberia & former USSR. It is found in India as well.
  • It is used in Electronic industries. 

2. Haematite

  • It is the industrially most important ore.
  • It contains 50-65 % iron content 
  • It is known as Red ochre. 
  • The largest concentration of Haematite is found in the Lake Superior Region, Labrador & Quebec in Canada, Guinea Highlands in Venezuela, Brazil etc. & the Dharwarian & Singhbhum rocks of India.
  • In India, it is found in the Chotanagpur Plateau region, Dharawar & Cuddapah systems of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu (Salem, Tiruchi) & Goa.
  • The main use of Haematite is in the iron & steel industries. 

3. Limonite

  • Limonite has less than 50% iron content.
  • It is yellow in colour.
  • It is used as pigment for paint manufacturing.

4. Siderite

  • Siderite is the carbonate of iron. It is found interbedded in sedimentary rocks. 
  • Iron content is 20-30%. Hence, it is economically unviable to extract.
  • It acts as a source of Manganese & Magnesium.

Distribution in World

North America Lake Superior Region, Labrador & Quebec
South America Brazil
Africa Liberia, South Africa & Algeria.
Europe Sweden, France (Normandy & Lorraine), Former USSR, UK & Germany
Asia India & China (Manchuria & Wuhan)

Distribution in India

Iron Ore Distribution in India

The country’s total reserves of iron ore were about 20 billion tonnes in 2004-05. Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Karnataka, Andhra, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu contain over 95% of the country’s iron ore deposits.

1. Odisha

  • Iron ore occurs in a series of hill ranges in Sundergarh, Mayurbhanj and Jhar. 
  • Important mines are Gurumahisani, Sulaipet, Badampahar, Mayurbhanj, Kiruburu (Kendujhar) & Bonai (Sundergarh).
Details of Important Mines
Badampahar Iron ore is supplied to Bokaro, Jamshedpur,  Rourkela & Durgapur steel plants.
Mayurbhanj Haematite with an iron content of more than 65% is found here (the highest quality found in India )
Iron ore is supplied to Bokaro, Durgapur, Rourkela & Jamshedpur.

2. Jharkhand

  • There are some of the oldest iron ore mines & steel plants in this region. 
  • The most important mines are Noamundi and Gua in Poorbi and Pashchimi Singhbhum districts. 

3. Chhattisgarh

Bailadila (Bastar) , Dalli Rajhara (Durg) & Dantewara are important mines in Chattisgarh

Details of Important Mines
Bailadila It is located in the Bastar district & is the largest mechanized mine in India.
Haematite extracted from this mine is exported to Japan and supplied to the Vishakhapatnam plant.  
Dalli Rajhara It is located in the Durg district. 
Haematite extracted from these mines is supplied to the Hindustan Steel plant in Bhilai.

4. Karnataka

In Karnataka, Iron ore is found in the following areas

  • Sandur-Hospet area of Ballari/Bellary district.
  • Baba Budan Hills and Kudremukh of Chikkamagaluru district.
  • Parts of Shivamogga, Chitradurg & Tumakuru districts.
Details of Important Mines
Baba Budan Hills Mostly exported to Iran through Mangalore port.
Kudremukh Deposits Exported to Iran.
Sandur Range Supplied to Vijayanagar Steel plant.

5. Maharashtra

  • Found in districts of Chandrapur, Bhandara and Ratnagiri. 

6. Telangana

  • Found in Karimnagar and Warangal district.

7. Andhra Pradesh

  • Found in Kurnool, Cuddapah and Anantapur districts. 

8. Tamil Nadu

  • Found in Salem and Nilgiri districts. 

9. Goa

  • Iron ore is found in North Goa. 
  • Mormugao port provides an additional advantage from where Iron ore is exported to Iran & Japan.

2. Manganese

  • India is 5th largest producer of Manganese in the world.
  • About 1/5 of Indian Manganese is exported mainly to Japan.


  • Manganese is needed during iron forging. If Manganese is not added to iron, iron breaks. It makes steel anticorrosive, hard& tough.
  • It is used to produce alloys by mixing with Copper, Bronze, Nickel etc.
  • It is also used in manufacturing insecticides & pesticides, photography and dry battery.

Global Distribution

Africa South Africa and Gabon
South America Brazil
Europe Ukraine and Russia
Asia India
Australia Australia (Victoria & Queensland)

Distribution in India

Manganese ore distribution in India

Almost all geological formations include deposits of Manganese. However, it is mainly associated with the Dharwar system.

Odisha Odisha is the largest producer of Manganese. 
Major mines are located in the Iron ore belt, i.e. Kendujhar, Sundergarh, and Koraput.
Karnataka The Manganese mines are located in Dharwar, Belagavi, Ballari, Chikkmagaluru, North Canara, Chitradurg, Shivamogga and Tumkur.
Maharashtra Nagpur, Bhandara and Ratnagiri districts.
Jharkhand Manganese is found in all iron ore regions. Chaibasa is the biggest mine. 
Madhya Pradesh Manganese is found in the Balaghat region. 

Note: Manganese was mined for the first time in Srikakulam (1892) in Andhra Pradesh.

3. Bauxite

  • 8% of the Earth’s crust is made up of Aluminium. 
  • Bauxite is mainly found in tropical & subtropical regions, but Aluminum is separated from the ore in an area with cheap electricity using the Hall Herault method.
  • The first bauxite mine was in Les Baux village in France. Bauxite name derived from it. 

Global Producers

Bauxite reserves Bauxite Producers Alumina Aluminium
Guinea Australia China China
Australia Brazil Australia Russia
Brazil China Brazil Canada
  India (Rank 6) India (Rank 5) India ( Rank 6)

Global Distribution

North America USA (but significant import from Jamaica, Surinam etc.)
South America Guinea, Jamaica, Surinam and Brazil
Europe France, Yugoslavia, Hungry and Russia(Urals)
Asia Vietnam, India and China
Australia Australia (exported to Japan)

Distribution in India

Bauxite distribution in India

Bauxite is found mainly in tertiary deposits. It is associated with laterite rocks, commonly found in coastal areas and Peninsular India.

Odisha Odisha is the largest producer of Bauxite. 
– Niyamgiri & Gandhmardhan hills are biggest fields .
Bauxite Mines are present in Kalahandi, Sambalpur, Bolangir and Koraput.
Jharkhand Lohardaga
Gujarat Bhavanagar and Jamnagar
Chattisgarh Amarkantak plateau
Madhya Pradesh Katni-Jabalpur area and Balaghat
Maharashtra Kolaba, Thane, Ratnagiri, Satara, Pune and Kolhapur

4. Copper

  • Copper is a soft brown metal found in igneous & metamorphic rocks.
  • The main ores of Copper are Cuprite, Malachite, Chalcocite & Bornite.
  • In the electrical industry, Copper is a crucial metal for producing cables, electric motors, transformers, and generators.
  • It is alloyable, malleable and ductile and a good conductor of heat and electricity. Since gold is a soft metal, Copper is mixed with it to strengthen jewellery.
  • The most important alloys of Copper include
    1. Brass: Alloy of Copper and Zinc
    2. Bronze: Alloy of Copper and Tin

Global Distribution

North America USA (West coast), Canada (Ontario & Quebec) and Mexico
South America Chile and Peru
Europe Russia (Urals), Georgia and Armenia
Asia Kazakhstan
Australia Australia (Mt Esa & Mt Morgan)
Africa Zaire (Katanga Plateau), Zimbabwe and  Zambia.

Distribution in India

Copper ore distribution in India
Jharkhand  Singhbhum and Hazaribagh
Madhya Pradesh Balaghat
Rajasthan Udaipur, Bhilwara & Alwar

Indian share in world production is 4%. India isn’t self-sufficient and imports Copper from Zimbabwe, Australia, USA & Mexico.

5. Gold

  • Gold is known as the international currency.
  • Propertiesdurable, doesn’t rust, luster, malleable & ductile. 
  • It is used as an ornament as well as to mint coins (historically).

Global Distribution

Africa South Africa, Zimbabwe and Ghana
North America Canada and USA
South America Columbia, Peru, Ecuador and Brazil.
Europe Former USSR
Asia China, Japan, Korea and India
Australia Australia

Distribution in India

About 90% of production is from Karnataka & rest is from Rajasthan, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar & Andhra Pradesh. Three important gold fields in India.

1. Karnataka

1.1 Kolar Gold Mines, Mysore
  • Mining started here in 1871.
  • It still contributes 60 % of the total production of the country.
  • The mine is more than 3000 m deep, and almost all gold has been extracted.

1.2 Hutti Goldfield, Raichur dist.

  • It is the only gold-producing company in India. 

2. Andhra Pradesh

  • Ramgiri Goldfield and Anantapur.

3. Placer or Alluvial gold

  • Gold is obtained from sand & sedimentary deposits of the river.
  • It is found in the Subarnrekha river in Jharkhand &  Lo in the Singhbhum district of the Chotanagpur plateau.

6. Silver

  • Silver is white & valuable metal.
  • It is used in making ornaments & mint coins (historically).
  • Main ores include Argentine, Stephanite & Proustite.
  • It is found in association with zinc & lead.

Global Distribution

North America Mexico, Canada and USA
South America Bolivia and Chile
Europe Spain, Germany, Sweden,  Italy and France
Asia Japan, Myanmar and India
Australia Australia

Distribution in India

  • India is not very rich in silver.
  • Rajasthan is the largest producer owing to following
    • Zowar mines in Udaipur.
    • In Hindustan Zinc Smelter in Udaipur, Silver is obtained as a by-product of Zinc & Lead.
  • Other producers include
    • Tudoo Lead Smelter: Dhanbad(Jharkhand)
    • Kolar Gold Field & Hutti: Karnataka
    • Vishakhapatnam Smelter: Andhra Pradesh

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