Non-Metallic Minerals

Non-Metallic Minerals

This article deals with ‘Non-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.

Non-Metallic Minerals


  • Mica is primarily used in the electronic and electrical industries. 
  • Useful Property: 
    • It can be split into thin sheets, which are tough and flexible.
    • It can withstand high voltage & has a low power loss factor.
Non-Metallic Minerals
  • India has the largest deposits & largest producer of mica in the world. However, owing to the development of substitutes, its demand is decreasing.

Global Distribution

USA Russia Ukraine
Brazil South Africa Tanzania
Zambia Norway Canada

India Distribution

Jharkhand Hazaribagh Plateau
Andhra Nellore district produces the best quality.
Rajasthan The Mica belt extends from Jaipur to Bhilwara to Udaipur.
Karnataka Mysore and Hasan districts
Maharashtra Ratnagiri
Tamil Nadu Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli, Madurai and Kanyakumari
Kerala Alleppey


Diamond is a precious stone known for brilliance, luster, transparency & hardness.

Global Distribution

Global Distribution of Diamond

South Africa, the Republic of Congo, Australia, Ghana, Angola & Namibia are the leading producers.

South Africa Kimberley
Congo Katanga Plateau (largest producer)
Australia Kalgoorlie and Koolgardie

India Distribution

Madhya Pradesh Vindhyan formations (Panna district) is the main diamond-producing area. World-famous Kohinoor is also from these mines.
Andhra Pradesh Kurnool and Anantapur
Karnataka Raichur

Cutting & polishing diamonds is mainly carried out in Surat, Ahmedabad, Navsari, Bhavnagar, Mumbai, and Jaipur.


  • Limestone formations consist of either calcium carbonate, carbonate of calcium & magnesium, or a combination of both.
  • Additionally, limestone comprises small amounts of silica, alumina, iron oxides, phosphorus, and sulfur.
  • Limestone deposits are of sedimentary origin and are present in geological sequences from Pre-Cambrian to Recent, excluding Gondwana.
  • The cement industry utilizes 75 per cent of limestone, with 16 per cent used in the iron and steel industry as a flux and 4 per cent used in chemical industries. The remaining limestone finds applications in diverse sectors such as paper, sugar, fertilizers, etc.
  • Limestone is produced in all states across India, with Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, and Tamil Nadu contributing to over three-fourths of the total limestone production in the country.
Global Distribution of Limestone

India Distribution

Madhya Pradesh MP is the largest producer (16% of total production), with mines in Jabalpur, Betul and Satna.
Rajasthan Limestone production occurs in almost all the districts of Rajasthan.
Andhra Pradesh Cement-grade limestone is found here, especially in the Cudappah and Guntur regions.
Gujarat Found in Banaskantha
Chhattisgarh Found in Bastar and Durg districts
Tamil Nadu Found in Ramnathapuran, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli etc.

Global Distribution

China China is the largest producer of limestone.
USA A significant amount of limestone is found in Texas, Kentucky and Indiana. 
India Discussed above
Russia A substantial amount is found in the Ural mountains and Siberia.
Other Other producers include Brazil, Mexico, etc.


  • Asbestos is a fibrous silicate mineral.
  • Its commercial value is attributed to its fibrous structure, high tensile strength filaments, and exceptional fire resistance.
  • Important applications of Asbestos include 
    1. Manufacturing fire-proof items such as cloth, rope, paper, millboard, and sheeting.
    2. Production of aprons, gloves, and automobile brake linings
    3. Asbestos cement products, including sheets, pipes, and tiles, used in construction
    4. Mixed with magnesia, it contributes to the production of ‘magnesia bricks’ used for heat insulation.
  • Health Concerns: The use of Asbestos in construction has decreased significantly due to health concerns associated with exposure to Asbestos.

India Distribution

Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh are the largest producers of Asbestos in India. 

Rajasthan Rajasthan is the largest producer, with a primary concentration in Udaipur, Alwar, Dungarpur, Ajmer, etc.
Andhra Pradesh Mainly found in Cuddapah districts.
Karnataka Found in Mandya, Shimoga, Chikmagalur and Hassan districts. 

Global Distribution

Russia Leading global producer with main concentration in aural Mountains
China China has an extensive Asbestos concentration in Inner Mongolia.
Kazakhstan Found in the Altai Region
Canada Canada was a major asbestos producer, with mines in Quebec; however, the industry has significantly declined in recent years due to health concerns.


  • Gypsum is Hydrated Calcium Sulphate.
  • It appears as a white, opaque, or transparent mineral.
  • It is found in sedimentary formations like limestones, sandstones, and shales.
  • Main uses
    1. Used as raw material in Ammonia Sulphate Fertilizer
    2. Gypsum is used to make cement, Plaster of Paris, and Tiles.
    3. It is used as surface plaster in agriculture to retain soil moisture and facilitate nitrogen absorption.

Indian Distribution

  • Rajasthan: Rajasthan leads gypsum production in India, accounting for 99% of total production. Rajasthan has major deposits in Jodhpur, Nagaur, Bikaner and Ganganagar.
  • Minor producers include Tamil Nadu (Tiruchirappalli district), Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh.

Global Distribution

China China is the largest producer of gypsum globally.
USA The U.S. is also a major producer of gypsum.
Iran Iran is known to have significant gypsum reserves.
Spain Spain is a key player in the European market.


  • Salt can be derived from various sources, like
    1. Seawater
    2. Brine springs 
    3. Salt pans in lakes
    4. Rock formations
Salt Production

Main producers include

  • Sea Water: The Gujarat coast alone contributes nearly half of the total salt production in India. Other contributors include Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
  • Salt Lakes: Sambhar Lake in Rajasthan accounts for approximately 10% of the nation’s annual salt production.
  • Rock Salt: Mandi district in Himachal Pradesh is known for its rock salt production.