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Introduction to Minerals and Energy Resources

Minerals of various types are found in India. India has large deposits of some minerals such as iron ore, bauxite ore and manganese ore, whereas mineral oil and natural gas, zinc, copper, gold are found in very limited quantities. India has rich deposits of coal, but has limited amounts of coking coal. Small deposits of radioactive elements such as uranium and thorium, which are sources of nuclear energy, are found in India.

Minerals are homogenous substances occurring naturally and have a defined internal structure. Metals are extracted from mineral ores. Rocks are naturally occurring agglomerations of minerals. In mineral ores, a number of minerals occur, but there is sufficient concentration of one mineral which can be extracted for commercial use.

  • Minerals may occur in igneous and metamorphic rocks in faults, cracks or veins.
  • In sedimentary rocks, minerals may occur in horizontal beds or layers. Deposition of minerals such as coal and some forms of iron ore are formed over a long period of time, when the sedimentary layers were subjected to intense pressure and temperature.
  • Alluvial deposits in sands of valley floors, called ‘placer deposits’, contain minerals which did not get corroded by water. Precious minerals such as gold, silver and platinum are found in such placer deposits.
  • Decomposition of surface rocks and removal of soluble constituents leave behind a residual mass of weathered materials. Bauxite is a mineral occurring in this manner.
  • Minerals are found in oceans. Collecting these minerals from oceans becomes economically difficult. Common salt and magnesium are obtained from ocean water, whereas manganese nodules are explored from ocean beds.

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