Non- Ferrous Minerals-Distribution


  • Bauxite is a principal ore of aluminium which is one of the most important non-ferrous metals used in the modern industry.
  • Bauxite is basically an aluminous rock containing hydrated aluminium oxide as the main constituent and iron oxide, silica and titania in varying proportions.
  • Bauxite is primarily used to produce alumina through the Bayer process.
  • Like many metals, world demand for aluminium, and therefore bauxite, has grown substantially over the past 10 years in response to economic growth in emerging Asian economies.

Distribution of Bauxite in the world

The world bauxite reserves are estimated at 28 billion tonnes and are located mainly in Guinea (26%), Australia (22%), Brazil (9%), Vietnam (8%), Jamaica (7%), Indonesia (4%), Guyana & China (3% each).

Australia continues to be the major producer of Bauxite and accounts for about 30% share in total world production, followed by China (25%), Brazil (14%), India (8%) and Guinea (7%).

Guinea: Guinea has about a third of the world s bauxite reserves, but annual production in this bauxite-rich country is severely restricted owing largely to political instability and riots in bauxite mining areas like a town of Boke. Bauxite reserves in Guinea are mostly concentrated in the western and central part of the country

Australia: bauxite production in Australia is mainly concentrated in various sites in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Brazil: Brazil ranks third in terms of bauxite reserves. The Paragominas bauxite mine, located in the east of the state of Para in Northern Brazil, is one of the richest sources of bauxite in the world.

China: In China, bauxite reserves were discovered mostly in Guangri, Guizhou, Henan and Shanxi Provinces.

Indonesia: Indonesia s major mineral resources of bauxite are found on Bintan Island. Since 2014, there is a ban on bauxite exports in Indonesia.

Deposits of Bauxite in India

There are abundant bauxite reserves in the country. However since they are located in heavily forested areas, inhabited by indigenous people; mining has been unable to start in these regions. For example Vedanta group s bauxite mining project in Odisha

  • The country has abundant resources of bauxite which can meet both domestic and export demands.
  • Bauxite is found mainly in tertiary deposits and is associated with laterite rocks occurring extensively either on the plateau or hill ranges of peninsular India and also in the coastal tracts of the country.

Resources of bauxite in India till 2013 are estimated at 3,739 million tonnes. These resources include 830 million tonnes reserves and 2,909 million tonnes remaining resources.

By States, Odisha alone accounts for 53% of country's resources of bauxite. The ranking of states in terms of bauxite resources is as following

  1. Odisha (53%)
  2. Andhra Pradesh (16%)
  3. Gujarat (8%)
  4. Jharkhand (5%)
  5. Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh (4% each).
Major Bauxite mines in India

Major bauxite resources are concentrated in the East Coast bauxite deposits in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh

Odisha: Odisha happens to be the largest producer of Bauxite. Kalahandi and Sambalpur are the leading producers. The other two important bauxite producing areas are Bolangir and Koraput.

Jharkhand: The patlands of Jharkhand in Lohardaga have rich deposits.

Gujarat: Bhavnagar, Jamnagar in Gujarat have the major deposits.

Chhattisgarh: Chhattisgarh has bauxite deposits in Amarkantak plateau

Madhya Pradesh: Katni-Jabalpur area and Balaghat in M.P. have important deposits of bauxite.

Maharashtra: Kolaba, Thane, Ratnagiri, Satara, Pune and Kolhapur in Maharashtra are important producers.

Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Goa are minor producers of bauxite.

The aluminium sector has been growing at a steady pace increasing the demand for bauxite. However, production of bauxite has not been commensurate and has been mostly declining.

The quantity of bauxite has been depleting in various mines with respect to alumina and silica contents and R&D efforts are needed in this regard.

There are abundant bauxite reserves in the country which needs a proper assessment and detailed exploration with a timely action for allocation of bauxite deposits blocks, to meet the demand of the industries.

Lead and Zinc

  • Zinc is a silvery blue-grey metal with a relatively low melting and boiling point. It is the third most used non-ferrous metal after aluminium and copper.
  • Lead is a soft, heavy, toxic and highly malleable metal. It is frequently recovered as a by-product of lime production.
  • Both lead & zinc are found to occur together in ore along with other metals like silver and cadmium
  • Lead -Acid storage battery is the single largest consumer of lead metal while Steel Industry is the largest consumer of Zinc, which is used for corrosion resisting coating of steel.

Distribution of lead and zinc in the world

Distribution of Zinc

Australia, China, Peru, Mexico and USA are the top five countries in the world in terms of Zinc reserves. India s position is sixth in terms of zinc global reserve.

China: China is the largest zinc-producing country. Most of the zinc is produced in Nei Mongol, Shaanxi and Yunnan Provinces. Nei Mongol was the leading zinc producing Province, accounting for 22% of the total.

Peru: Peru is the second largest producer of zinc. In Peru, Cerro de Pasco, Huaraz and Ayacucho are the main zinc-producing areas.

Australia: The main zinc-producing areas of Australia are Broken Hill in western New South Wales, Reed Elsevier, Western Queensland and Captains Flat also in New South Wales.

USA: The fourth largest producer of zinc in the world. Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Jersey, Tennesee, Virginia, Illinois and New York are having zinc mining areas.

Zinc reserves across different countries

Distribution of Lead

The lead reserves are greatest in the following countries: Australia (40%); China (15%); Russia (10%); the United States (5.6%); Peru (8.4%); and Mexico (6%). The lead reserves of these six countries cover 85% of total reserves in the world.

In terms of refined production of lead, China is the single largest producer with about 44.3% share followed by U.S. with about 12.4% share, India and South Korea with about 4.3% share each.

Australia: Australia has the largest reserves of lead in the world. Queensland, Broken Hill, Elura and Woodlawn (New South Wales), Tasmania, and North Bay, MacArthur River are the main lead reserves in Australia.

China: China has the second largest reserves of lead in the world. Central and western regions of China are the main reserves in the country.

Russia: In Russia, major lead reserves are located in Siberia region.

Peru: Cerro de Pasco and Morococha are the major reserves of lead in Peru

Mexico: Zacatecas and San Luis Potos are the major lead reserves in Mexico.

Lead reserves across different countries

Deposits of Lead and zinc in India

India has a combined zinc-lead production capacity of more than one million tonnes per annum. The country enjoys self-sufficiency in respect of zinc. Production of zinc is more than its consumption. In contrast, there is a short supply of lead vis-a-vis the demand in the country. The ever-increasing demand for lead, especially from Lead Acid Battery Sector, is met by the thriving market of lead scrap recycling

The total reserves/ resources of lead and zinc ores as on April 2013 were estimated at 709.04 million tonnes. Rajasthan is endowed with the largest resources of lead-zinc ore in India. State wise resource position in India is as follows:-

  1. Rajasthan - 629.92 million tonnes (88.84%)
  2. Andhra Pradesh - 22.69 million tonnes (3.20%)
  3. Madhya Pradesh 14.84 million tonnes (2.09%)
  4. Bihar 11.43 million tonnes (1.61%)
  5. Maharashtra 9.27 million tonnes (1.31%).

Resources are also established in Gujarat, Meghalaya, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.

Rampura Agucha is a zinc and lead mine in the Bhilwara district of Rajasthan, India. It has world's largest deposits of zinc and lead. At present, zinc is produced in India by Hindustan Zinc Limited (HZL) and Binani Zinc Limited (BZL). On the other hand, the sole producer of Lead is Hindustan Zinc limited.

Major Lead-Zinc mines in India


  • Tungsten is a hard steel-grey shiny metal that is often brittle and hard to work and is of strategic importance.
  • Tungsten has a melting point of 3422 degree Celsius, the highest of all metals and is resistant to all acids at ordinary temperatures.
  • It is elastic, ductile and has a high tensile strength and can be drawn into very thin wires
  • Thus, tungsten is the most important metal for thermo-emission applications
  • Tungsten is mainly used in the form of ferrotungsten in making of special and alloy steels
  • The other principal use of tungsten is in the manufacture of tungsten carbide, one of the hardest synthetic materials used in various industries.
  • Tungsten compounds are used in dyes and pigments; manufacture of paints & printing ink; and also in Ceramic Industry for producing yellow tint.

Distribution of Tungsten in the world

According to the data released by USGS in 2014, world tungsten reserves are around 3.5 million tonnes. Tungsten resources are concentrated in China (1,900,000 metric tonnes), Canada (290,000 metric tonnes), Russia (250,000 metric tonnes), United States (140,000 metric tonnes), Bolivia (53,000 tonnes), Austria (10,000 metric tonnes) and Portugal (4,200 metric tonnes).

In terms of production of tungsten, China is the leading producer (80%), followed by Vietnam, Russia, Canada, Bolivia and Rwanda.

The tungsten resources in the world are mainly distributed in the areas that are close to the orogenic belts, for example, in the Alpine-Himalayan and circum-Pacific belts.

  • Specifically, major tungsten deposits have been found in the fold belts of the Far East (South China, Thailand, Burma, South Korea and Japan), the Asiatic part of the former Soviet Union (southern Siberia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and the Caucasus),
  • the eastern coastal fold belt of Australia
  • the Alpine fold belt from France to Turkey
  • The western mountain ranges of the Americas (The Rockies and Andes), which are part of the Circum-pacific belt, contain several important deposits in Canada, USA, Bolivia and Peru.
  • In Western Europe, the Variscan belt that arcs from Germany and the Czech Republic through France and south-west England and into Spain and Portugal also has some important tungsten deposits.
Global reserves of Tungsten

Deposits of Tungsten in India

The total resources of tungsten ore in the country till April 2013 had been estimated at 87.4 million tonnes. Resources of tungsten-bearing minerals are mainly distributed in

  1. Karnataka (42%)
  2. Rajasthan (27%)
  3. Andhra Pradesh (17%)
  4. Maharashtra (9%)
  5. The remaining 5% resources are in Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and West Bengal

The domestic requirements of tungsten and its products are met mainly through imports. A significant amount of tungsten is recovered through recycling of tungsten scrap products.

Availability of tungsten in India is limited and the metal is not mined because the ores are of low grade. Degana in Rajasthan and Chendapathar in West Bengal were the only operative mines of tungsten in India producing meagre quantities of concentrate. However, owing to economic non-viability, they have been closed down.

There is a growing requirement in India for tungsten products in industrial and defence applications, where it has been identified as a strategic material.


  • Pyrite, also called iron pyrite or fool s gold, a naturally occurring iron disulfide mineral.
  • Pyrite is called fool s gold because its colour may deceive the novice into thinking he has discovered a gold nugget.
  • It occurs as an accessory mineral in igneous rocks, in vein deposits with quartz and sulfide minerals, and in sedimentary rocks, such as shale, coal, and
  • Pyrites were used as a substitute for sulphur in the manufacture of sulphuric acid by PPCL but the operations were discontinued in 2003 for production of pyrite.

Distribution of Pyrites in the world

China, Finland, Turkey, Russia and South Africa are the principal producers of pyrite.

Major pyrites producing areas in the world are:

  • Rio Marina, on Elba, and at Traversella, Piedmont (Italy)
  • Ambasaguas and Navajun, Logro ±o Province (Spain)
  • Akihito (Kazakhstan)
  • Colorado, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Montana, Washington, Missouri (USA).

Deposits of Pyrites in India

Total resources of pyrites in the country till April 2010 were placed at 1,674 million tonnes of which only 27 million tonnes are the proven reserves. Major resources are located in Bihar and Rajasthan.

Pyrites Phosphates and Chemicals Ltd (PPCL) had two pyrites production units located at Amjhore (Bihar) and Saladipura (Rajasthan) besides phosphorite division in Dehradun. The Government approved closure and hiving off of these two units in July 2002 and Amjhore unit in June 2003 and hence no activity is reported.

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