29. Production, consumption and demand-The average annual production of iron ore during the past few years has been varying between two to three million tons, the chief producing regions being in the iron ore belt of Bihar and Orissa, and Mysore. Mysore's share in production has been varying between 40,000 and 60,000 tons and practically all the rest has come from Bihar and Orissa. These figures may be taken as an index of the present capacity of the two regions to utilise iron ore for the production of pig iron. Most of the ore is utilised by the three iron and steel plants at Tatanagar, Asansol (Hirapur) and Bhadravati, while a small quantity has been exported.

Production of Iron Ore, Pig Iron and Steel

        
                                           Iron ore       Pig iron     Steel
                                              (Figures in thousands    tons)
        
             1929-33   Average                  1779           1119      443
             1934-38                            2490           1495      667
             1939-43                            3068           1868      968
             1944-48                            2364           1450      964
             1949                               2809           1589     1012
             1950                               2965           1646      970
             1951                               3657           1802     1070
        
                                          

394 THE FIRST FIVE YEAR PLAN

The average annual production of pig iron in India is of the order of 11/2 to 2 million tons, and of steel about 1 million tons. Production does not meet the demand in full and the gap between production and demand is filled to some extent by imports from abroad. Both iron and steel have been in short supply in the war and post-war years :

The increased production of the above mentioned raw materials would require provision of necessary transport facilities for assembling these raw materials and for the movement of manufactured products.


*Figures inclusive of imports on Government Account.

DEVELOPMENT OF MINERAL RESOURCES 395

30. Exports-There has been a small export trade in iron ore, as indicated below:

                  Year                                         Tons
        
                  1940-41                                      13,300
        
                  1941-42 to 1944-45                             NIL
        
                  1945-46                                        810
        
                  1946-47                                         20
        
                  1947-48                                         ..
        
                  1948-49                                         .. 
        
                  1949-50                                      4,300
        
                  1950-51                                     84,513
        
                  1951-52                                    280,102
        
                                          

Export of iron ore has been fluctuating. In recent years, the export demand for iron ore has increased but limitations of transport have restricted the extent to which this demand can be met. The long- term policy is to expand pig iron production to meet internal demand as well as, if possible, for the export market, instead of permitting exports of ore.

MANGANESE ORE

31. Manganese is an important material in industry as the metallurgy of iron and steel is dependent upon it for smelting processes. India has fairly large deposits of manganese ore and is one of the chief producers of the mineral. Other important producers are U.S.S.R., Brazil, South Africa and the Gold Coast. Except U.S.S.R., none of the other great industrial countries possess manganese deposits of importance and deposits in India therefore assume special importance.

32. Distribution of deposits-The chief manganese ore deposits are concentrated in a few regions, viz., the districts of Chhindwara, Nagpur, Balaghat and Bhandara in Madhya Pradesh; Jhabua in Madhya Bharat; Bellary (Sandur) and Visakhapatnam districts in Madras, Shimoga in Mysore; Panchmahals and certain districts of southern Bombay and a few scattered areas in Bihar and Orissa. Of these, the largest and the richest are those of Madhya Pradesh yielding ores which are generally high in manganese content.

33. Reserves-The ore bearing region in Madhya Pradesh extends over a length of more than 100 miles from Bhandara through Balaghat and Nagpur to Chhindwara district. The ore bodies are often of large size, but their extension in depth is not known. This lack of information is due to the comparatively small amount of underground mining that has been carried out and the almost complete a lack of drilling to determine the depth. The ores are hard and fine grained and usually high in manganese content, which is over 49 % in most of the ores from Bhandara and Balaghat districts. The phosphorous and iron contents are variable and the latter is usually high-rather too high for the ore to be used straight in blast furnaces for high grade ferro-manganese production. The deposits in Sandur, Mysore and southern Bombay are of low grade and of comparatively small magnitude. The Singhbhum deposits are of small size and irregular nature. Numerous small sized deposits occur in Gangpur, Keonjhar, Bonai, Kalahandi and Koraput areas in Orissa. The quality varies from high to low grade but they possess an advantage in their proximity to the iron and steel centres Besides, these regions possess a certain amount of low phosphorous, low iron manganese ore and a certain quantity of ore rich in peroxide for use for chemical purposes.

396 THE FIRST FIVE YEAR PLAN

There are no reliable estimates of reserves available for any of the deposits. One of the deposits in Madhya Pradesh worked by the Central Provinces Manganese Ore Co. has been proved to contain about 5 million tons of high grade ore. The deposits in Madhya Pradesh were estimated a few years ago to contain about 10 million tons of high grade ore and about 3 million tons of lower grades. On the whole, it may be assumed that the reserves of high grade ore are of the order of 15 to 20 million tons and that of lower grades will amount to about three times the above quantity, but these figures are only approximate.

34. Production-Mining of manganese began in 1891 and developed rapidly during the early years of the present century. Annual production for the last 40 years has averaged about 600,000 tons and had exceeded the million ton mark in three years. Except for a small fraction of the total production consumed by the Tata Iron and Steel Co., almost the entire production is exported in the raw form. So far, about 30 million tons of ore-much of it high grade-have been exported. Figures of production and export of manganese during the last decade are given in the statement below

                       Year                Production     Domestic     Exports
                                              (tons)     consumption    (tons)
                            `                              (tons)
        
             1939-43   average               671,471      74,043       599,616
             1944-48   average               362,678      56,495       353,554
             1949                            645,825      79,264       613,907
             1950                            882,929      69,325       808,221
             1951                          1,283,929      88,867       952,000
                                          

35. Consumption-Domestic consumption is mostly confined to the steel industry which uses ore for production of ferro-manganese required for steel plants. The table above shows the consumption of manganese ore by the iron and steel industry. A certain amount of manganese ore is consumed in the glass industry and also in the manufacture of dry cells and in the chemical industry. Consumption of manganese ore in industries other than steel are not large.

Domestic consumption of manganese ore will go up during the next few years as a result of expansion envisaged in respect of iron and steel production and other industries. It is estimated that domestic requirements will go upto 100,000 tons by 1957-58. There would be no difficulty in meeting the expanded demand.

36. Export policy-As stated above, India occupies a position of importance as a world supplier of this mineral. Taking into account the absence of definite information regarding the extent of reserves and in order to meet the requirements of an expanding iron and steel industry, a policy of strict conservation of reserves is called for. Export control was brought into force late in 1948 and ceiling limits were placed for both high and low grade varieties. Later, for special reasons, Government decided on a policy of export of high grade ores to the extent of 1 million tons per annum for a temporary period. This policy will be re-examined if it is found by detailed geological investigations that the reserves of high grade ore prove to be smaller than at present estimated.

DEVELOPMENT OF MINERAL RESOURCES 397

Recommendations

37. (i) Survey and appraisal of resources-As already pointed out, there are no reliable estimates available of India's resources of manganese ore. It is therefore, necessary to institute ail immediate investigation of all the deposits indicated below:

(a) areas in Madhya Pradesh. (b) Jamda, Rayagada and Kalahandi (Orissa). (c) Panch Mahals (Bombay). (d) Ratnagiri, Dharwar and North Kanara (Bombay). (e) Mysore. (f) Visakhapatnam and Sandur (Madras).

(ii) Manufacture of ferro-manganese-The aim should be to convert the ore into ferro-manganese and manganese chemicals for purposes of export instead of exporting it in the raw condition. At present only a small percentage of the total production of manganese ore is converted into ferro-manganese for domestic consumption in the steel industry. The Tata Iron and Steel Co. produce ferro-manganese in the blast furnace for their own consumption. The average production of ferro-manganese during the last ten years is about 13,000 tons a year. Plans for setting up further ferro-manganese plants are under consideration.

(iii) Beneficiation-It is believed that India has abundant resources probably of the order of 70 to 80 million tons of low grade ore, i.e. those containing less than 42% manganese. There is only a restricted market for such ores. Investigations in regard to beneficiation of such ores should be undertaken by the Bureau of Mines in collaboration with the National Metallurgical Laboratory. For this, provision has been made in the Plan. Investigation should also be undertaken for the recovery of manganese ore in the dumps and effective measures undertaken to control and if possible, eliminate wastage of ore in mining

CHROMITE

38. Distribution and reserves-Chromite is an important strategic mineral of which India has moderate supplies. The chief chromite deposits in India are situated in the Singhbhum district (including Seraikela) of Bihar; the Mysore and Hassan districts of the Mysore State; the Ratnagiri and Sawantawadi areas of Bombay; the Krishna and Salem districts of Madras and the Keonjhar district of Orissa. There are also deposits near Dras in Ladakh, Kashmir State, but these are practically inaccessible. Those in Manipur (Assam) and the Andaman Islands will have to be investigated further before their economic importance can be ascertained.

No reliable estimates of reserves are available but the following figures may be given as general indications :

                  Mysore                             135,000 tons.
                  Bombay                             67,000 tons.
                  Orissa                             200,000 tons (20' depth).
                  Salem (Madras)'                    200,000 tons (20' depth).
                  Krishna                            Not known.
        
                                          

398 THE FIRST FIVE YEAR PLAN

39. Production and export-The following table gives figures of production and export of chrome ore from India :

 
                                                Production     Export
                                                  tons*        tons*
        
                  1939-43   average              47,524        41,901
                  1944-48   average              34,552        17,426
                  1949                           19,4i6         6,382
                  1950                           16,729         3,864
                  1951                           15,802         8,838
        
                                          

It will be noticed that a major part of the production is being exported, practically all of it being high grade ore containing 46% and above of chromic oxide. Domestic consumption is mostly confined to the manufacture of refractory bricks chromite bricks) while smaller quantities are used for the manufacture of chrome chemicals. There has been no attempt to manufacture ferro-chrome or chromium alloys except on a very small scale by Tatas.

Export of chromite which was unrestricted till 1948 was brought under control and a ceiling of 10,000 tons was prescribed. In view of the absence of definite information regarding the extent of the reserves, export of high grade ore has been totally banned since June 1951 and low grade ores are being licensed upto a maximum of 10,000 tons a year. Even this policy should be reviewed as soon as more definite information can be gathered about the reserves.

40. Recommendations-A programme of detailed mapping (and if necessary, drilling) should be undertaken in the following chromite bearing areas

(a) Singhbhum (Bihar). (b) Baula Hills (Orissa). (c) Ratnagiri (Bombay). (d) Krishna (Madras). As reserves of high grade ore available in the country are limited, the Bureau of Mines in conjunction with the National Metallurgical Laboratory should undertake research on the beneficiation of low grade chrome ores from various parts of India.

NON-FERROUS METALS

41. India's reserves of non-ferrous metals are inadequate with poor resources of copper, lead and zinc and practically no deposit of tin. The following table gives the annual production and consumption in 1950.

                          Production   Consumption   Percentage      Value of 
                            tons           tons           of         imports
                                                     deficiency        Rs.
                                                                     (lakhs)
        
             Copper        6,614         48,391           84%          900
             Zinc           NIL          33,400          100%          523
             Lead           629          15,624           96%          205
        
                                          

The cost of imports of these three metals amounted in 1950 to Rs. 16 crores.


*The figures include output from Baluchistan up to 1947.

DEVELOPMENT OF MINERAL RESOURCES 399

COPPER

42. Distribution-The most important deposits of copper are found in the Singhbhum copper belt (Singhbhum district, Bihar) about 80 miles in length. Other deposits are in Bhotang near Rangpo (Sikkim), Khetri in Jaipur and Daribo in Alwar (Rajasthan); Baragunda in Hazaribagh and Barukhi in the Santhal Pargana (Bihar); Belligudda in Chitaldrug (Mysore) and in Almora and Tehri-Garhwal (U.P.). There are also smaller deposits like those of Gani in Kurnool, Vinukonda in Guntur and Garimenpenta in Nellore (Madras); Niwar and Sleemanbad in Jubbulpore and Karamsara in Balaghat (Madhya Pradesh) ; in Kangra in the Punjab and in Jammu and Kashmir. No estimates are available of the reserves of copper ore in the deposits mentioned above except in the case of Singhbhum.

There is only one copper producing agency in India. viz., The Indian Copper Corporation Ltd., with its mines at Mosaboni in the Singhbhum copper belt of Bihar. Chalcopyrite is the chief copper ore worked here.

The following table gives the production of copper ore and copper metal from the Singhbhum deposits during the last ten years

 
                                      Copper ore     Value     Refined
                  Year                 Quantity       Rs.      copper
                                        (Tons)       (lakhs)   (Tons)
        
             1939-43 average            373,244        59.9      6,236
             1944-48 average            330,674        70.1      6,066
             1949                       329,303       110.5      6,390
             1950                       360,308       120.2      6,614
             1951                       369,057       194.0      7,083
        
                                          

LEAD AND ZINC

43. Lead and zinc deposits occur sporadically in several places of which the more promising are those at Zawar in Mewar and Chauthka- Barwara in Jaipur district. Another lead-zinc deposit is in the Riasi district of Kashmir. Of these, the deposits at Zawar were opened up during the last war by the Geological Survey of India and have since been leased to the Metal Corporation of India who began operations in 1945. The total production of lead ore concentrates till 1950 amounted to nearly 6,500 tons. There has also been a small but intermittent production from the deposits in Jaipur, viz., 42 tons from 1945 to 1948 (inclusive). The Metal Corporation of India has recently been granted a loan by the Industrial Finance Corporation to develop the deposits and to make arrangements for stepping up production of lead.

No arrangements have yet been made to smelt and recover the zinc. A committee has recently been set up to examine the question of setting up a zinc spelter industry in the country. The largest use of zinc in the country is in the manufacture of galvanized iron sheets. As the yield from Zawar may be comparatively small, even when the deposits are fully developed, it would be desirable to investigate the possibility of replacing zinc and developing an alternative coating for steel sheets.

400 THE FIRST FIVE YEAR PLAN

44. Recommendations-As the present production of copper barely amounts to 12 to 15% of India's consumption, detailed geological and prospecting operations should be undertaken in the regions indicated below:

(a) The Singhbhum copper belt (Bihar). (b) Khetri in Jaipur (Rajasthan). (c) Daribo (Alwar, Rajasthan). (d) Hazaribagh (Bihar). (e) Gani (Madras). (f) Almora and Tehri-Garwal ( U.P.).

Several small occurrences of lead-zinc ores have been noted in several places scattered over the country, and the possibility of some of them containing workable quantities should be investigated. Attention should also be paid to the reported occurrence of tin in the Hazaribagh district of Bihar.